Press Release World Baseball Softball Confederation
LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The world governing body for baseball and softball, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), has highlighted the importance of sport for young people in a double celebration of Olympic Day and its pitch for inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sports competition schedule.
WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said baseball and softball’s stakeholders around the world have helped establish grassroots pathways for young people to participate in sports in local communities, schools and sports centres.
“These programmes share the values and guidelines set forth by the global effort led by the Olympic Movement to increase participation levels of young people and women in sport,” Fraccari said.
The WBSC president said there could be no higher honour for baseball and softball athletes than to represent their nations and to see their sport on the greatest sporting stage in the world, the Olympic Games.
“Our bid for baseball and softball to be included as additional sporting events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is on behalf of baseball and softball players now in over 140 countries — and on behalf of our sport’s younger generation who aspire to one day represent their nation and our sport in the Olympic Games,” he said.
The WBSC’s focus on youth development is aligned with the Olympic Movement’s renewed emphasis on youth in sport under IOC President Thomas Bach, and the key themes of this year’s Olympic Day — to learn, move and discover through sport.
“Olympic Day provides the opportunity for sporting bodies like WBSC to honour what sport has done for society, helping to highlight the values of sport and the important role sports play in our cities, countries, continents and societies,” said Fraccari.
President Fraccari said youth-focused baseball and softball programmes and competitions that introduce children as young as five-years-old are a feature of baseball and softball leagues globally, and provide important opportunities for young people to experience the excitement, team work, discipline and other important lessons and characteristics of life and sport.
The inclusion of baseball and softball at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will help inspire young people across Japan, Asia and in the newly emerging baseball and softball nations of Europe, Africa and Middle East, Fraccari said.
“Baseball and softball are among the most popular sporting activities for young people across Japan, and would help to engage and inspire more young people into sport and experience the benefits of sports,” he said.
The WBSC is one of eight international federations shortlisted by Tokyo 2020 organisers for possible inclusion at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.