IN a footballing first, Yoshimi Yamashata makes up a trio of the first ever women to officiate at a men’s World Cup tournament.
She is joined by Stephanie Frappart of France and Salima Muksansanga of Rwanda, who are all set to make history in Qatar.
According to FIFA, the women will be joined by by Neuza Back, Karen Dias, Kathryn Nesbitt who make up the 69 assistant referees.
Here is all you need to know about the Japanese trail-blazer.
Who is Yoshimi Yamashata
Yoshimi Yamashita was born in Tokyo in 1986.
Yamashita also became the first woman to referee men’s matches in the J-League and AFC Champions League.
She told Japanese press that she feels “great pride and responsibility” after being asked to referee at the tournament.
The 36-year-old admitted: “I didn’t think it would ever be possible to officiate men’s games, so the World Cup wasn’t in my thoughts.”
She hopes that her inclusion will mark a big change in the wider game, stating: “I don’t see any difference between men’s and women’s football, so what is happening in Qatar needs to continue.”
When asked about what her presence might mean for other women watching the tournament, Yamashita replied: “I want to tell young girls who are interested in becoming referees that our potential is growing.”
However, she acknowledged that she feels “a certain amount of pressure to win everyone’s trust.”
Japan’s first ever professional female referee has been keeping in top condition ahead of the tournament, making sure she is up to speed with the game.
She said: “I’m really conscious of the speed, I make split-second decisions. I have to continue training that muscle as the World Cup draws closer and be prepared to adjust to speedy developments.”
Yamashita is also keeping her mind sharp, revealing that she had been watching videos of previous matches.
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