WBSC, Olympic Solidarity, Japan’s Softball For All boosting softball in the Americas

GUATEMALA CITY – Softball coaches and umpires from Cuba, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuela and Guatemala benefited from specialized clinics offered at the National Sports Association of Softball (Asosoft) 17-24 October.

The WBSC, the Olympic Solidarity programme, and the Japanese Sport for Tomorrow programme all assisted in the courses.

Technical support workshops

The first course was provided through the Olympic Solidarity programme – which provides assistance to NOCs through multi-faceted programmes prioritising athlete development, training of coaches and sports administrators, and promoting the Olympic values. The clinic was run by Venezuelan Olympian and current U.S. collegiate coach Ruby Rojas from 17-21 October.

“We had the honour of having Rubilena Rojas, who truly was the forerunner of the first of many stages of the course,” said the Asosoft President Héctor Sazo.

Following the Olympic Solidarity course, the Government of Japan provided a technical support seminar through the “Sport For Tomorrow” Program, in collaboration with the Guatemalan Olympic Committee.

Two Japanese softball specialists, Toshihiro Kuriyama and Miyuki Azuma, provided support workshops to Guatemalan softball coaches from 21-24 October.

In addition, there was the presence of the Ambassador of Japan in Guatemala, Tomohiko Furutani.

“Sport is the engine that unites countries in bonds of brotherhood and friendship and we are grateful for the gesture of friendship from the government of Japan through the implements and training that will certainly be very well utilized by our coaches.  The Tokyo Olympics will mark the return of baseball and softball to the Olympic Cycle and we want Guatemala to be present, including the 2018 World Championship in Japan”, commented President Sazo.

International clinic for umpires

The third portion of the courses was a four-day specialized clinic for umpires.

Asosoft – through the WBSC – held a specialized international clinic for umpires with participants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama and Guatemala from 27-31 October. WBSC Softball Director of Umpires Bob Stanton led the training.

“We learned from the best international umpire and we hope that all this knowledge that Bob gave us will be reflected in the improvement of all, ” said President Sazo.

Marianela Velasquez, head of Asosoft’s rule committee said that the course was beneficial following softball rule changes that occurred during the 2nd WBSC Congress in Botswana.

“It was useful to learn about mechanics to make better choices in the field. This has been a great opportunity, especially now that the new rules are available, because they will be able to get to know the rules in depth,” she concluded.

Contribution of sport equipment

The WBSC and the Japanese “Sport for Tomorrow” program donated softball equipment to Asosoft for the benefit of National Softball.

The Sports donation consists of 10 bats, 20 gloves, 20 helmets, 10 set of catcher gear.

Earlier in the year, the WBSC provided 20 starter kits with an estimated value of over $25,000 USD.

The delivery of sporting equipment was held during a press conference at the headquarters of the Asosoft, which was attended by the Ambassador Tomohiko Furutani, Asosoft President Sazo, Dr. Neville Stiles, director of International Affairs of the Guatemalan Olympic Committee, and WBSC clinician Ruby Rojas.

The event was also attended by Silvia Elena Arévalo, Deputy Director for bilateral foreign policy for Asia, Africa and Oceania of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala.

To learn more about WBSC’s Development programme, visit our website.