Members of the IFF Athletes’ Commission have been contributing Blog posts on what they are up to. Former Japanese national team player and member of the ATC, Yui Takahashi, talks us through her retirement from active floorball and a new role back home in Japan working alongside Special Olympics


Hello everyone! 

I would like to share with you all my story of moving from Japan to Sweden to play floorball and returning to Japan after almost 12 years of living in Sweden. 

When I was 22 years old, I made the decision to move to Sweden to become a better floorball player. Like many Asian players, I dreamed of playing in SSL. Unfortunately, I did not reach my goal, playing in SSL, but I was very happy to spend 12 years competing in Sweden, the biggest floorball country in the world. 

I loved my life in Sweden, especially in the city of Umeå. It is a great city for floorball lovers, with floorball arenas and big floorball clubs as IBK Dalen and Thorengruppen. In the winter, it was very cold outside, but the people were warm, both at workplace and on the team. 

So, the decision to leave the city was not an easy one. 

But finally, I decided to go back to Japan. The reason was to work for the Special Olympics. 

In Special Olympics Nippon (Japan), floorball is played as a “Unified sport” in which people with and without intellectual disabilities work together as a team. My new mission is to promote Unified Floorball all over Japan, and in addition to that, to put the idea of Unified Floorball into elementary school classes. 

To face this new challenge, I decided not only to return to Japan, but also to retire as a floorball player (including Japan national team). 

My work with Special Olympics Nippon involves no small amount of travel throughout Japan. During my active career, I hated missing practice; I didn’t want to miss a single practice, not even one. Therefore, I knew that I would not be able to do this job if I continued to be an active player.  

When I made the decision to retire, of course I felt sad. Because I had played floorball for 28 years and for the Japanese national team for 18 years. 

But now I feel that my decision was the right one. I am meeting new people in different places in Japan and sharing the joy of floorball with them. I am happy when everyone thinks floorball is fun! And with floorball as a tool, people with and without intellectual disabilities understand each other. I think it is wonderful that this sport that I have been involved in for so many years has become such a communication tool, and I am proud to be able to use my experience and knowledge in this way.

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