IOC, ASOIF Presidents: WBSC delivered great baseball/softball events at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

IOC, ASOIF Presidents: WBSC delivered great baseball/softball events at Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Thomas Bach and Francesco Ricci Bitti also commended the WBSC and President Riccardo Fraccari for recent advancements in international baseball and softball, including the successful launch of new disciplines, Baseball5 and eSports. Also Taipei City Mayor Wen-je Ke and CTBA president Jeffrey Koo addressed the WBSC Congress.

Thomas Bach and Francesco Ricci Bitti sent messages to the WBSC Congress, gathered in Taipei City.

Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, wrote that the fact the WBSC Congress is taking place in person give reasons of optimism.

"In these difficult times, with conflict and wars on the rise, we need the unifying power of sport to promote peace and solidarity more than ever."

Bach showed appreciation for the outcome of the baseball and softball tournaments at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

"The historic Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were the best illustration of this," Bach said. The World Baseball Softball Confederation and all your athletes played an essential part in writing this Olympic history in Tokyo. Therefore, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your invaluable contribution to the success of these Olympic Games."

The IOC leader then addressed WBSC leadership and stakeholders.

"The strong standing of WBSC today is thanks to the important work of all of you under the great leadership of your President Riccardo Fraccari and his team," Bach said. "You are continuing your modernisation journey by empowering athletes, strengthening governance, and innovating with new formats and disciplines like Baseball5, which will debut at the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026. By embracing change, you are developing your sport, promoting the role of sport in society and spreading our Olympic values."

Bach added: "This is why today, the WBSC and the IOC enjoy a strong partnership, which has only been enhanced by the recent opening of your headquarters in Lausanne. Together, we are working towards the realisation of Olympic Agenda 2020+5, with a strong focus on how sport can contribute to achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals."

On a final note, Bach added: "Building on this strong foundation, you have every opportunity to set the course for the future of Baseball and Softball. As your athletes show us: we can only go faster, we can only aim higher, we can only become stronger if we stand together - in solidarity."

In his message to the WBSC Congress, Ricci Bitti, the president of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), showed his appreciation for the way the WBSC has impacted the world of international sports.

"After the merging [between the international Baseball (IBAF) and softball (ISF) Federations], let me say you've made a great journey under the leadership of my friend President Fraccari. The first proof has been the successful delivery of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. You are an integral part of the Olympic Movement, and we appreciate your cooperation and solidarity very much. Not only physically, with the inauguration of your beautiful headquarters here in Lausanne, but for your connection with all our departments and for working with us to prepare for the Olympic Games. The Games happened in very difficult conditions, and you delivered safe and successful Games despite the contest. They were successful both on-site and also around the world, thanks to your coverage."

Ricci Bitti added: "What matters most for ASOIF is the development of each of our sports. You're doing a great job also on this field. In two directions: one is the new discipline Baseball5, very appreciated in developing countries, for instance in Africa; second is tour effort in the innovative area of e-sports. Your participation in the IOC virtual series had impressive numbers."

The WBSC was amongst five sports/international federations appointed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to be part of the inaugural Olympic Virtual Series, which also featured cycling, rowing, sailing and motorsport.

The WBSC's global urban/development-targeted discipline, Baseball5, was added to the next Youth Olympic Games by the IOC in January 2020.

On a final note, the ASOIF president said: "I'm sure this journey will continue under your forward-thinking leadership."

Taipei City Mayor Wen-Je Ko said that hosting the WBSC Congress in Taipei City would prove a chance to strengthen the connection with the world's baseball and softball communities.

"Due to the pandemic, you won't be able to enjoy the beauties of our island. However, we believe that soon there will be such a day when you can be here again to visit."

The Mayor added: "Baseball is inseparable from our daily lives. We're honoured to host several WBSC events, including the U-23 Baseball World Cup here in Taipei City."

Jeffrey Koo, the president of the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association (CTBA), thanked President Fraccari and the WBSC Executive Board for supporting CTBA in the organisation of the Congress.

"We love baseball on this island," added Koo. "We have developed the game for the last 120 years. From elementary school students to middle-aged people, from boys to girls, we fully enjoy the fun of baseball all year round."