Ai Ueda is all smiles in Yokohama ... more smiling on Saturday?

In 2014 Ai Ueda took the silver medal at WTS Yokohama and followed that up with a bronze last year. She'll be in Saturday's field looking for another podium finish.

| May 10, 2017 | PERSONALITY

Gwen Jorgensen greets Ai Ueda at the World Triathlon Series Yokohama race in 2014.

Gwen Jorgensen greets Ai Ueda at the World Triathlon Series Yokohama race in 2014.

Photo >Delly Carr / ITU

In 2014 Japan's very own Ai Ueda thrilled the crowd on hand with her runner-up finish to Gwen Jorgensen at the ITU World Triathlon Yokohama race. A year later she would return to the podium, taking the bronze medal.

This weekend the Kyoto native is back to Yokohama, looking for another podium finish in the third WTS race of the 2017 season.

Originally a swimmer, she took part in an Ekiden relay as a 14-year-old and excelled, which prompted her to switch from the pool to the track. After high school she moved from Kyoto to Chiba to focus on triathlon. It was a good move - she took the Junior Asian Championship in 2002 and became an elite in 2003.

Ueda has represented Japan at three Olympic Games - Beijing in 2008, London in 2012 and last year in Rio. Of her 167 starts at ITU events she's finished on the podium 40 times and has won 23 times. This year she finished third at the Cape Town World Cup, fifth at the WTS race in Abu Dhabi and eighth at the WTS Gold Coast event.