Softball legend Maria Soto elected President of Venezuelan Olympic Committee

Softball legend Maria Soto elected President of Venezuelan Olympic Committee
19/05/2022
Maria Soto became the first woman to be elected to the top position of the Venezuelan Olympic Movement in its 80 years of history. Venezuelan Baseball President Aracelis Leon was elected as fourth Vice President of the National Olympic Committee.

Olympian and softball legend Maria Soto was elected president of the Venezuelan Olympic Committee at the organisation’s assembly held on Wednesday in Caracas. Soto became the first woman to be elected to the top position of the Venezuelan Olympic Movement in its 80 years of history. The term runs from 2022-2026.

The president of the Venezuelan Baseball Federation and Pan American Baseball Confederation (COPABE), Aracelis Leon, was elected as fourth Vice President of the Venezuelan Olympic Committee.

"We are here to move forward together," said Soto, who has been co-chair of the WBSC Athletes Commission since its inception in 2013. "We thank Eduardo Álvarez and his entire outgoing Board for the legacy they have left in sport. We will keep innovating and bringing new ideas to support athletes."

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari congratulated Soto with a message on his Twitter account: 

“Congratulations to my friend Maria Soto for being elected VOC President...I’ve followed Maria’s career for a long time, and I look forward to continue working together for the development of our sport in Venezuela."

The WBSC president also congratulated Leon and said her being elected was proof of her leadership and skills that made her a well-respected figure in the sport’s world. Leon was recently elected as president of COPABE. "We’ll keep fighting together for the good of the sport in Venezuela and their athletes,” Fraccari tweeted in his message to Leon.

Soto, 43, played for the Venezuelan National Softball Team for 18 years, representing her country in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where she was the flag bearer for Venezuela at the opening ceremony. She also played in three Pan American Games (silver medal in Rio 2007), and six WBSC World Championships. Since 2017 she has held the position of president of the Venezuelan Softball Federation.

Soto received a congratulations message from Nicolás Maduro, President of Venezuela, who posted on Twitter: “Congratulations to the new President of the Venezuelan Olympic Committee, Maria Soto, and the Board, I’m convinced they will steer the future sport victories of our country. Let’s get ready for the upcoming challenges, in the road to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”