A total of ten teams from the Americas continent will compete for two available spots in softball’s historic return to the Olympic Games when the WBSC Softball Americas Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualifier begins on Sunday (25 August) in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. The event will also serve as a qualifier for the World Games Birmingham 2021 and the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup 2021.
The ten* participating teams have been placed into two groups:
Group A features world No. 3 Canada, No. 4 Puerto Rico, No. 17 Cuba, No. 18 Guatemala and No. 39 Bahamas.
Group B includes world No. 5 Mexico, No. 14 Brazil, No. 16 Venezuela, No. 19 Dominican Republic and No. 20 Peru.
Following a five-day Opening Round, the top three squads from each group will advance to the Super Round, carrying the results between the qualified teams. The two teams with the best overall records following the Super Round will earn qualification to the Softball tournament at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the World Games. The top four teams will also advance to the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup 2021.
The full schedule as well as all tournament information, including rosters, stats and standings of the WBSC Softball Americas Qualifier, will be found at the official tournament website.
* The original entry list numbered 12 teams however Argentina, and the British Virgin Islands withdrew from the competition citing unexpected circumstances in their own countries.
Group A Preview
With world No. 1 USA already qualified to Tokyo 2020, host Canada is the top-ranked team in the tournament. Two weeks ago, the Canadian team earned the Silver Medal at the Pan American Games Lima 2019, losing the final to USA, 3-1. Canada is coming off back-to-back bronze medal finishes at the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championships in 2016 and 2018, while finished third place in the Pan American Championship 2017. Canada has played in the first four Olympic Games softball competitions, and eyes to keep that streak alive. Their best performance was a fourth place in Beijing 2008. Canada’s roster for Surrey features three Olympians from that competition: Danielle Lawrie, Kaleigh Rafter and Jennifer Salling.
After winning the Gold Medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games in 2018, and Bronze at the Pan American Games in Lima 2019, Puerto Rico aims to qualify to Tokyo 2020. The Caribbean nation played the historic first-ever Olympic Softball event in Atlanta 1996, but then never came back to the Olympics. In Atlanta they finished the last place with a 1-6 record; their only win was against Australia, by a score of 2-0. In 2017, Puerto Rico finished fifth place at the Pan American Championship and one year later was also fifth at the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship in Chiba.
In the last day of competition of the Pan American Championship 2017 Cuba lost to Puerto Rico, 1-0, and finished sixth place in the tournament. This result left Cuba out of the World Championship 2018 and the Pan American Games 2019. However, they qualified to the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla 2018, where they won the Bronze Medal. Cuba’s only participation at the Olympic Games was back in Sydney 2000, a seventh-place performance with only one win over Canada, by 2-1.
The last major international competition for Guatemala was the Pan American Championship 2017 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, finishing sixth place in Group B, and 11th place overall, missing the regional and continental Games, and the World Championship. Guatemala is coming to Surrey looking for their first-ever Olympic participation and their third presence at the WBSC World Cup. The participated in 1978 and 1982.
As well as Guatemala, Bahamas participated only twice at the global stage, in the World Championships 1978 and 1982, in El Salvador and Chinese Taipei. In the Pan American Championship, 2017 Bahamas finished 16th place with only one win in eight games.
Group B Preview
The top-ranked team in Group B, Mexico was runner up of the Pan American Championship 2017, losing to USA the final game by a score of 9-0, qualifying for Barranquilla 2018 and Lima 2019. At the Central American and Caribbean Games, they earned the Silver Medal, and this year ended a fourth place at the Pan American Games. In both events, Mexico lost to Puerto Rico. At the World Championship 2016, the finished sixth place. Mexico will try to qualify for the Olympic Games for the first time in history.
Surrey is a familiar place for Brazil: they played here their only Women’s Softball World Championship in 2016, finishing 12th place. One year before, in Toronto, they had their best performance ever at a continental level, finishing fourth place at the Pan American Games 2015. They need to repeat that performance, at least, in order to advance to the World Championship for the second time in history. In the Pan American Championship 2017, Brazil advanced to the playoffs but was eliminated in the first round, finishing eighth place.
Venezuela has played all the international competitions from 2017, starting with that year’s Pan American Championship when finished fourth and qualified for the Central American and Caribbean Games, the Pan American Games and the World Championship. In Barranquilla 2018 Venezuela finished fourth place, after being eliminated from the medal contention by Cuba. In the World Championship 2018, they finished 12th while this year in Lima ended at fifth position. Venezuela made history in 2008, participating in the Olympic Games, where they ended up the seventh place, with a 2-5 record (victories over Canada and Netherlands). Venezuela includes two Olympians in their roster: Denisse Fuenmayor and Maria Soto who was Venezuela’s flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Beijing 2008.
Dominican Republic hosted the Pan American Championship 2017 in Santo Domingo, but finished seventh place and couldn’t advance to the continental Games and the World Championship. The Caribbean team will try to advance to the Olympic Games for the first time in history. The last time Dominican Republic played the World Championship was back in 2014 in Haarlem, the Netherlands, finishing 12th place.
After hosting the Pan American Games this year, Peru looks to continue growing and enlarge the legacy of the Games on the field. In the Pan American Championship 2017 they finished 15th and this year they closed Lima 2019 at last place. They have played the World Championship only once, in 2016, here in Surrey.
Round Robin Schedule