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Aug '13 25

Softball confirms its strengths as ideal sport for women of all abilities at Special Olympics, in countdown to IOC vote

Press Release World Baseball Softball Confederation

MERCER COUNTY, NJ – The appeal and accessibility of Baseball and Softball as sports for athletes from all backgrounds, abilities and cultures was highlighted at the Special Olympics Softball tournament underway in New Jersey this weekend.

The tournament, which is open to men as well as women softball players, brings together the best Special Olympics softball teams and players from USA, along with international teams from the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Canada and Puerto Rico also participating. Each of the 23 competing teams qualified for the August event through a series of tournaments throughout the summer.

This event is a prelude to next year, where nearly 3,500 athletes will compete in 16 Olympic-style team and individual sports, with the support of 1,000 coaches, 10,000 volunteers and 50,000 family, friends and spectators will come together for the Special Olympics USA Games.

Millions of girls and young women in sporting organisations, schools, and community and business groups around the world are hoping IOC members will vote for softball to be included on the 2020 Olympic Games programme to boost the number of women who can participate at the Games, along with baseball.

“We strongly support the IOC’s Sport For All philosophy and programmes, and our vision is to work with the IOC and the Olympic Movement to give every boy and girl the chance to play ball and play sport,” said Don Porter, co-President of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), which is leading the campaign to have softball and baseball included at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Softball is one of the most popular sports in the world for women, and is played by women in more than 140 countries, and expanding its reach day by day, especially in Muslim countries.

“We hope the IOC can find a way to get softball and baseball in the Olympic Games because the Olympics and the values of the Movement mean so much to women everywhere, especially girls who dream of representing their country at the Games. We hope the IOC can find a way to make those dreams come true for millions of these girls and young women,” Porter said.

Softball’s strengths were on display at the Special Olympics Softball event, showing that there is always a role on the team for every size athlete, skill-level, and for athletes with impairments.

“Adding a sport to the Olympic program that women across the world enjoy to play, like Softball, will give more women more opportunities to be empowered through sport, and help to make the Olympic Movement and sport more relevant to millions of women everywhere,” Porter said, “And this will help to encourage and create more ladders for more women to participate in sport at all levels, including leadership roles.”

“This will inspire future generations of girls, and women to take up sport,” he said.

A final decision for the sport will be taken on September 8th during the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires (Argentina).

Scores, updates, and photos from the Special Olympics North America Softball Invitational Tournament will be available by visiting www.2014specialolympics.org

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