Softball Australia has thrown its hat into the ring in a bid to host the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WSBC) Olympic Qualifier at Blacktown International Sportspark.
The tournament will determine which nation from the Asia/Oceania region will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games with eight teams, including Australia, set to battle it out for a single place in the Olympic draw.
“Australia has a proud Olympic record, having won medals at every Olympics in which softball has been contested, and our focus is firmly on securing a place in Tokyo when softball makes its return to Olympic competition,” Softball Australia CEO David Pryles said.
Australia has claimed a medal at every Olympics Softball has been held with three bronze medals (Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008) and a silver (Athens 2004). It was added for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics but was removed before the 2012 London Games.
However, the IOC voted to restore Softball and baseball alongside karate, sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding for the Tokyo Games in 2020.
The 2000 Sydney Olympic legacy stadium has hosted countless state and national competitions as well as international tournaments since the Olympics, including February’s Asia Pacific Cup.
“Australia has shown our ability over many years to produce successful, well-organised tournaments that showcase softball to the world and deliver a memorable experience for players, coaches and fans,” Pryles said.
“What better way to further our chances of securing Australia’s Olympic spot than to host the qualifying tournament in front of a home crowd and at the same venue where softball was played at the 2000 Olympics Games.”
Australia’s national team, Aussie Spirit, have recently returned from the XVI Women’s World Softball World Championship in Japan where they finished fourth – the highest placed finisher from Asia/Oceania nations seeking to qualify as runners up have already qualified as hosts.
The 2020 Olympic softball tournament will be contested between six teams with the USA (winners of the recent World Championship) and Japan (host nation) already guaranteed a spot. Two more teams will be selected from the Americas, one from Europe/Africa and one from Asia/Oceania.
The World Baseball Softball Confederation is expected to announce its decision on the successful bid in mid-September.