PRAGUE, Czech Republic — The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) presented today the WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship in the Czech Republic, with a press conference held at the Lord Mayor’s Residence, in the capital city of the Czech Republic. Players and head coaches of the 16 teams competing in the tournament had a common idea: it’s great to be here, in Prague, for the first-ever Men’s Softball World Championship in Europe.

The Mayor of the City of Prague, Mr Zdeněk Hřib opened the conference with a welcome message to the participants: “I’d like to welcome you here, to the residence of Prague Mayor. I want to thank the Czech Softball Association for bringing the Men’s Softball World Championship to Prague. It’s not too often for a World Championship, the top competition in any given sport, to be held in Prague.

On behalf of the capital city of Prague, I promise we’ll do our best to ensure a top quality organization, and we will set the bar high for other countries who will be holding the championship in the years to come”.

Then, the President of the Czech Softball Association, Gabriel Waage, said: “I’m proud of my beautiful country, which can host this World Championship, the most prestigious event in the world. The Men’s Softball World Championship is an excellent occasion to connect the beauty of our country with the top-level sport.

“The Men’s Softball World Championship comes to the European continent for the first time. I’m personally really happy that one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, placed exactly in the heart of the continent, can welcome the giants of the men’s softball”.

Finally, WBSC Chairman Tommy Velazquez congratulated the host National Federation and expressed its appreciation to the Mayor of the City of Prague, delivering a Recognition Plaque: “Tomorrow will be a very special day for the softball family. We’re excited to be here in Czech Republic, hosting the first-ever Men’s Softball World Championship in the country and the continent.

“We know the terrific job the Czech Softball Association and the local softball community have been made to make this tournament happens. I want to congratulate the Czech Softball Association for an amazing job organizing this event, and express my appreciation to all the volunteers and officials who make this tournament possible.

Finally, to the beautiful city of Prague, who is hosting a world-class softball event again, our eternal gratitude for being such a great host for all of us.”

Consulted about his team, two years later of the 2017 silver medal, Australia’s head coach Kere Johanson said they want to improve that performance: “Like all participating countries, we’d like to think we’ve improved, we need it too. The 12 players returning from the 2017 team have more experience now, and two of the five players added to the roster comes directly from the successful world championship winning junior program last year in Prince Albert. So we’d like to think we’re in a good spot, and like all countries, we want to do it better than we did in the last tournament”.

In the same direction, Canada’s skipper John Stuart said: “We fell we have a great mixture of youth and veteran leadership to hopefully get us on the gold medal game on Sunday”.

Japanese Head Coach Tomoaki Okamoto was clear about his goal in the tournament: “It will be a tough competition to get a gold medal, but we’re looking for it. And if we can’t, at least we want to take the bronze medal.”

New Zealand Captain Nathan Nukunuku wanted to avoid the pressure of being the team to beat in the tournament, after winning the world championship two years ago: “We’re the reigning world champions, but we have a different team from 2017. At 19:30 on Thursday everyone is going for the title, all the teams here present, but I think Japan has defeated us the last couple of times, so they are probably more the leading team at the beginning.”

During the press conference, the WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship trophy and medals were unveiled.