The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) today announced that the world governing body expects to attract more than 3,000 visitors to Baseball/Softball sector of the Sports Initiation Zone at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 in the Argentinian capital.
From 6-18 October Buenos Aires will be the epicentre of the Olympic Movement, with more than 4,000 young athletes from 206 countries participating.
Fittingly, baseball and softball are one of sports most practised by youth, with tens of millions registered with youth leagues around the world. Leveraging this popularity and connecting it to the Olympic Movement, WBSC has been working alongside the Argentina Baseball Federation and the Argentina Softball Confederation since the start of the III Youth Olympic Games, providing equipment and expertise to deliver an introductory, fun and engaging sports experience for visitors to Buenos Aires 2018.
WBSC is the only international sports federation recognised by the International Olympic Committee that begins World Cups at the U-12 (11-12 years old) and U-15 (13-15 years old) age categories.
WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said: “Baseball and softball are among the leaders in youth sport, and it’s a tremendous honour to be here in Argentina. The goal here is to build on this momentum and leverage the opportunity provided by the Youth Olympic Games to boost grassroots sports participation and promote healthy, active lifestyles. Our new urban discipline, Baseball5, is another great entry point into our sport, all you need is a ball and a space to play. Delivery costs are extremely low.
“We are here to place our energies towards supporting our members in the country, and to align our efforts with the Olympic Movement’s focus on inclusivity, accessibility and youth participation. We are grateful and humbled to have the opportunity to make a contribution here in Buenos Aires.”
The boys and girls visiting WBSC baseball/softball initiation zone will be able to learn the fundamental skills of the game. They will start the experience playing catch to get familiar with the balls and gloves, then learn the fundamentals of pitching, and then they will practice hitting in the batting cage and off tees. The boys and girls will play a Baseball5 game, experiencing the WBSC’s new urban, low-cost, youth-focused discipline designed also to provide a fast and intuitive introduction to baseball and softball.
The WBSC presence at Buenos Aires 2018 comes before the sport’s spectacular Olympic comeback at Tokyo 2020, where both baseball and softball are expected to generate some of the Games’ largest ticket revenues and highest broadcast audiences, behind sell-out crowds.