WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
PLANT CITY, FLORIDA (USA) — The full list of 66 games that will be played at the International Softball Federation’s XII Women’s World Championship was announced today by the sport’s world governing body. Caracas, Venezuela, will host the ten-day competition (June 23-July 2), which will consist of national teams from 16 different countries.
The first game will feature Japan against Argentina, and Opening Ceremonies will also take place that day. Team USA comes in as the defending world champions, having defeated Japan in the gold medal game of the last edition of the event, which took place four years ago in Beijing, China. Just two years later, however, in that same stadium, Japan would avenge the 2006 loss by capturing the Olympic softball gold medal with a 3-1 victory over the Americans. The two teams are in separate pools for this year’s world championship, however, so the opportunity to go head-to-head wouldn’t come until a possible playoff matchup.
“Without question we are certainly in store for some exciting competition at the women’s world championship,” ISF President Don Porter said. “The fans and media will witness some terrific play by elite-level athletes over those ten days in Caracas “This is just another step bringing us closer to the event. Today we’ve announced the game schedule. The organizing committee is in the process of launching the event website. And with this list of games in hand we will now work to finalize plans for international TV coverage. With only 91 days until the first pitch, everything is coming together for what I’m confident will be a world-class experience not only for the athletes but for all parties involved,” Mr. Porter said.
The 16 teams that will compete are: Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Great Britain, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, USA, and Venezuela.
The complete game schedule accompanies this release.This year’s event marks the 45th anniversary of the first-ever softball world championship (see commemorative logo below). Five women’s teams competed in Melbourne, Australia, in 1965, and one year later the first men’s world championship was held (eleven countries competed in Mexico City). Eventually world championships were also started in the junior women’s and junior men’s categories (age 19-and-under).
The ISF is the world governing body of the sport as recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and SportAccord (formerly the General Association of International Sports Federations). Softball (women’s fast pitch) made its Olympic debut at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. There are 128 affiliated countries in the ISF and millions of participants in the sport worldwide.
Teams interested in participating in the III World University Softball Championship (Aug.29-Sep. 5 in Italy) or the Youth World Cup (Dec. 30-Jan. 6 in Florida, USA) should contact ISF Director of Competition Laurie Gouthro (lgouthro@ISFsoftball.org) for details.
Shan McDonald, who coached China’s 2004 Olympic softball team, recently led clinics that the Belgium Softball Federation said were “fantastic for our junior girls.” Held as part of their preparations for the Under-19 European Championship this July in Austria, the lessons took place in Brussels and near Antwerp. Ms. McDonald worked for three days with athletes from ages 14-19 as well as with coaches. The subject matter ranged from pitchers and catchers to defensive plays, team preparation, and offense.In addition to their time in a gymnasium, one of the groups also had a classroom session.