AFC Referee of the Year (Women): Sachiko Yamagishi
Kuala Lumpur: Sachiko Yamagishi has been named the women's AFC Referee of the Year, with the 2012 award marking the fourth time she has picked up the prestigious individual accolade.
Yamagishi impressed at the London Olympic Games with confident and composed handling of the USA's group stage fixture with France and the quarter-final between hosts Great Britain and Canada as the AFC Elite Referee claimed the award ahead of DPR Korea official Ri Hyang-ok and Qin Liang of China.
In what was a relatively quiet year for the women's game in the Asian arena, Yamagishi was also involved in three matches in the first round of qualifiers for the 2013 AFC Women's U-19 Championship, taking charge of Jordan's games against Iran and Tajikistan after serving as a fourth official for the opening encounter between the Iranians and the Tajiks.
""I am sure this award will spur other women to take up their job seriously in Asia. This is very special moment for me as it's the top honour you can get in Asia," said Yamagishi after receiving her fourth AFC Women's Referee of the Year award from HE Sayyid Khalid Hamed Hamoud Al Busaidi, AFC Executive Committee Member and Deputy Chairman of the AFC Referees Committee.
"In Asia we have several women who want to do this job but for some reason we are not getting enough. We need more women referees if we want to develop women's football in Asia. I know many girls and women who are keen to take this job so this news of me getting the award will certainly motivate them.
"I am a big fan of my job. It's like addiction. Once you get in here you learn many things and you start loving it. I do some other work but refereeing is what I do for passion."