Baseball Ireland and Softball Ireland have jointly welcomed today’s decision of the 129th IOC Session in Rio De Janeiro to include Baseball and Softball as sports in the Tokyo 2020 Programme.
The decision to reintroduce both sports comes 8 years after Baseball and Softball were last in the Olympics in Beijing 2008.
Speaking on today’s decision, Softball Ireland President Colum Lavery said “Today’s decision is momentous for Softball globally and in particular in Ireland. Being part of the Olympic programme and having a chance to qualify for Tokyo in 2020 will help us grow our game in Ireland.
“The format of Softball chosen is female Fastpitch Softball and this aligns with Softball Ireland’s and the Government’s desire to increase the participation of Women in Sport. We will now be able to offer an Olympic Pathway to female athletes that did not previously exist.” added Lavery “Ireland participated in the recent World Championships with a team new to the variation of the game and are now ranked a respectful 26th in the World – we envision competing in Europe in three short years for one of the 2020 Olympic qualification spots.” predicted Lavery
Baseball Ireland President Peter Kavanagh said, “It is fitting that Baseball and Softball should return to the Olympic programme for Tokyo 2020. Not only is Baseball the most popular sport in Japan, but these two sports are played in over 140 countries worldwide. With the Irish Women’s Fastpitch Softball Team improving steadily since their inception last year, and the consistent growth of Baseball in Ireland and Europe, a return to the biggest stage of them all is no more than the sports deserve. We hope it proves a success, and that Baseball and Softball can be permanent additions to the Olympic programme.
Through the IOC 2020 Agenda initiative, sports were invited to apply for inclusion at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) on behalf of Men’s Baseball and Womens Softball submitted Baseball/Softballs proposal for inclusion in June 2015. The Tokyo 2020 Additional Event Programme Panel evaluated proposals from IOC-recognised non-Olympic international sports federations, with Tokyo 2020 and announced a shortlist on 22 June, 2016 of five sports Baseball and softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing and surfing and a total addition of 18 events to be considered at the 129th IOC Session. Today’s decision by the IOC in Rio De Janeiro is a result of ten years work by the Baseball and Softball community globally.
About Softball Ireland
There are approximately 800 softball players in Ireland playing in 40 teams. The majority of the teams are located in the Greater Dublin Area with the remaining teams spread across the country, playing in centres such as Belfast, Cork, Galway and Limerick.
Softball Ireland is a non-profit organisation with no paid employees. The organisation relies on volunteers from its membership for the management and administration of softball in Ireland.
About Baseball Ireland
Baseball Ireland is the national governing body for the sport of Baseball in Ireland. It operates both adult and youth leagues and tournaments throughout the country.
Baseball Ireland is an amateur organisation with a volunteer executive and ethos.