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May '09 16

African Softball Leader strengthens Olympic Campaign

Press Release International Softball Federation

IOC Member and President of Gambian Softball Federation, Beatrice Allen, joins ISF Council: “Softball is a sport for humanity in Africa”

Plant City, Florida (USA); 15th May 2009: International Olympic Committee Member Beatrice Allen has joined the International Softball Federation’s Executive Council in a significant move for softball exactly one month before the ISF makes their presentation to the IOC Executive Board for the reinstatement of their sport to the Olympic Games Programme for 2016.

Ms. Allen, who is also President of the Gambian Softball Federation, and introduced softball to her country, recently presided over the first African Softball Forum, where delegates from ten African nations attended workshops and seminars to discuss the development of softball in Africa and using sport as a peace-building tool.

The growth of softball in Africa, particularly among young people and women, has been the result of a huge amount of hard work by the ISF and individual softball federations with ISF President Don Porter last month announcing a US$100,000 pledge from his federation, the International University Sports Federation (FISU) and the African Student Sports Union (FASU) as part of the ISF’s commitment to the development of the game on the continent, particularly in youth play.

Following her appointment by the ISF Ms. Allen said, “I am extremely honored to join the ISF Executive Council and I believe that I can help the sport grow even more across the African continent.  Softball is a sport for humanity in Africa.

“These are hugely important times for the ISF, with the rate of progress and growth over the past few years providing an incredible testament to the hard work by everyone associated with the sport, from the ISF president to junior coaches playing at street level across the globe.

“While I can’t comment on the specific 2016 campaign, what I can say is that softball’s growth is no surprise because it is easy to learn, cheap to play, and draws people together from diverse communities across the world.”

ISF President Don Porter said, “My recent visit to Gambia brought home how much softball has become a part of the sports culture and I am delighted that Ms. Allen has joined our Executive Council. She will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the ISF and will be a great asset to us as we continue to move forward with our growth and development.”

Ms. Allen is the second IOC Member currently to serve on the Executive Council following Melitón Sánchez from Panama.

This development further strengthens the BackSoftball campaign’s commitment to growing the sport worldwide in a bid to target new players at every level, with particular focus on women and youth.

Softball’s exemplary anti-doping record in top level competition is further reason why softball is becoming so popular throughout the world.

Softball was first featured in the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996 and last year’s competition in Beijing was very successful with a total attendance close to 180,000 and a continuation of the sport’s excellent record of no positive doping tests in women’s international softball since testing began in 1982.

A final decision on which sports will be added to the current roster of 26 at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games will be made at the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen in October this year.

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