The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) announced today the groups and a 42- game schedule for the WBSC Americas Softball Qualifier for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad Tokyo 2020. For the first time in history, WBSC staged a draw ceremony deciding the nations playing in each group of an official softball competition. The draw was held in the WBSC headquarters in the Olympic Capital, Lausanne, Switzerland, and was live-streamed via YouTube.

The 12 participating nations have learned their fate for this summer’s Americas qualifier, establishing an open Road to Tokyo 2020.

Host Canada will highlight Group A, along with world No. 4 Puerto Rico, No. 17 Cuba, No. 18 Guatemala, No. 25 Argentina, and No. 39 Bahamas.

Group B will be led by No. 5 Mexico, joined by No. 16 Venezuela, No. 14 Brazil, No. 19 Dominican Republic, No. 20 Peru and No. 57 British Virgin Islands.

“It is a big milestone for our organisation, staging the first-ever draw for an official international baseball or softball tournament,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. “It’s important to set groups by draw; this makes the process completely transparent. Good luck to all the teams. It will be undoubtedly an interesting tournament, marking the first step in the road to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”

The WBSC Americas Softball Qualifier, which is the last opportunity for the Americas teams to qualify to the Olympic Games, will start on Saturday 25 August in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, with all 12 teams in play. The five-day Opening Round will finish on 29 August, with the top three squads of each group advancing to the Super Round. Three days later, the two best teams in the Super Round will clinch their ticket to Tokyo 2020.

The top two nations in the WBSC Women’s Softball World Rankings, No. 1 United States and No. 2 Japan, are the only teams qualified for the historic softball return to the Olympic Programme in Tokyo (the U,S. team for being WBSC Softball World Champion 2018, and Japan as the host team of the Games).

With the groups draw, the teams have also known their rivals for each day of competition; however, the exact time of each game will be announced at a later date.