World champion Japan has called Erina Yamane, a product of the “Supergirl Project”, designed to search for new goalkeeping talents, to join the team at the upcoming London Olympics.
The 21-year-old goalkeeper is unusually tall. At 187 centimetres, she is even taller than Eiji Kawashima, the goalkeeper of Japan’s senior men’s team.
“I thought it was a joke,” Yamane (photo, left) said when she found out she was called at the national team. “The Olympics wasn’t even on my radar to be honest. I’ll just do whatever I can for the team.”
Yamane has recovered from a hernia injury and three foot fractures and says she is ready for the competition. “It’s been a very stressful year but it’s made me much stronger as a person.”
Japan is gearing up for the Olympic Games having won the World Cup last summer in Germany, only three months after the March natural disasters, when everyone was wondering if the team would even take part in the competition given the dramatic situation in the country.
The latest trophy of the team is the Kirin Cup won in April, a three-team tournament where Japan defeated Brazil and archrivals United States.