WBSC SAY ISF OUTCOME DRIVES 2020 INTEREST
Japan’s gold at Women’s Softball World Championship drives interest in return of Softball, Baseball at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
- Softball world title staged in Europe for first time showcases growth of women’s sport in new markets
HAARLEM, Netherlands — Japan defeated the United States, 4-1, to win the first ever Women’s Softball World Championship held in Europe, highlighting softball’s continued expansion beyond traditional geographic boundaries as one of the world’s most commercially successful, and popular spectator and participation sports for women, young girls and families.
Australia earned the bronze to spread the medal distribution of the women’s championship among the Americas, Asia and Oceania. (See Photos.)
“We are developing the sports of softball and baseball in many areas such as the Muslim world, in Africa, and in Europe where interest, awareness, and club numbers and players are continuing to grow on this historic, sports loving continent, the cradle of modern sport,”said World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) President, Riccardo Fraccari.
Japan, the 2008 Olympic softball champions, finished softball’s pinnacle global event with a perfect tournament record of 10-0, fueling further national speculation, interest and excitement in Japan about the possible inclusion of softball and baseball, the two most popular sports in the 2020 Olympic host nation, at the Tokyo Games.
With the Olympic sports selection process up for discussion at the IOC Session in Monaco in December, leadership of the WBSC, the recently merged international baseball and softball confederation, remains committed to working with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organisers to earn the honour of having the sports included at the Olympic Games.
“Japan, like many other countries around the world, is a baseball and softball nation, and we are doing all we can to maximize the added-value that our bat-and-ball sports would deliver to the Olympic Games,” President Fraccari said.
“We believe that the deep national history, pride and passion for baseball and softball in Japan, at all levels of Japanese society, would enable these sports to bring great value and enhance the Olympic experience at the Tokyo Games and for the 2020 Olympic host nation of Japan.”
“The ten-day spectacle of women’s sport highlighted softball’s growing global popularity as one of the world’s premier sports for women,” said Dale McMann, WBSC Executive Vice President.
The XIV Women’s Softball Championship featured sixteen national teams — the maximum allowed — from five world regions, and included Australia, Botswana, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Russia and United States.
“This was a premium event, with teams from three different continents in the top three,” said Low Beng Choo, WBSC Secretary General.
“The medal distribution from the Americas to Asia and Oceania highlights the global spread and excellence of the sport and the athletes, and increases opportunities and awareness of women’s sport,” Low said.
The attention will now shift to Miyazaki, Japan for the ENEOS Presents Women’s Baseball World Cup 2014, which begins September 1.
* 14th Women’s Softball World Championship
2. United States
5. Chinese Taipei
8. New Zealand
11. Czech Republic
12. Dominican Republic
15. Puerto Rico
16. Great Britain