Ayako Rokkaku: Women's Baseball World Cup MVP dreams of Baseball5 glory

Ayako Rokkaku: Women's Baseball World Cup MVP dreams of Baseball5 glory
01/06/2022
The former WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup MVP is a strong advocate for Women's Baseball and Baseball5. She wants to contribute to developing the five-on-five version of baseball/softball as an instructor and a player.

Former WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup MVP Ayako Rokkaku told the WBSC Global Game podcast she would like to "represent Japan in Baseball5,” and help the Olympic champions qualify for the inaugural WBSC Baseball5 World Cup, due to be staged in Mexico later this year.

Rokkaku, who was on the Japanese Women's National Baseball Team that won the 2016 WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup, is currently a player for the Saitama Seibu Lions Ladies Baseball Club and a WBSC Baseball5 certified instructor but told Global Game host Tyler Maun she would definitely like to represent her country in the WBSC’s newest discipline which is proving to be hugely popular around the world.

“I would like to participate in the Asia Cup, and win the championship there,” Rokkaku said. “I want to do my best so that I can participate in the World Cup. It is the first Baseball5 World Cup, so I really hope that the event will be exciting. I would like to see great athletes from various countries.

“Baseball5 originated in Cuba, and I think Cuban players are very strong. It will be great to see how other countries will compete against them. I am really looking forward to this memorable first edition."

You might also be interested in:
- Excitement grows, nations around the world target inaugural WBSC Baseball5 World Cup
- WBSC Ambassador Ayako Rokkaku opens Japanese Olympic Committee Education Programme on Integrity
- Former WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup winner Ayako Rokkaku backs Baseball5 in Japan
- Ayako Rokkaku on the growth of Women's Baseball in Japan
- Baseball5 - All You Need is a Ball

After a stellar international baseball career, Rokkaku had her first taste of the five-on-five mixed-gender version of baseball/softball at a workshop in Japan in 2019.

“I happened to be invited to the workshop, and I went without knowing what Baseball5 was. It was so much fun when I actually tried it, and I wanted to spread the sport to many people.

"I feel that Baseball5 has great potential to be an introductory sport that will develop from there and lead to baseball and softball," added Rokkaku.

Despite her new interest in Baseball5, she isn’t shelving her baseball career anytime soon as she continues to turn out incredible performances for the Saitama Seibu Lions Ladies Baseball Club and be a flagbearer for women’s baseball.  

She had the honour of carry the Olympic flame at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as the first runner in her home town - Hitachi city in Ibaraki Prefecture - while she is participated in the WBSC's Baseball5 showcase, which was staged during the Paralympic Games.

"I was the only girl on the baseball team until junior high school. But as I became older, I began to see the difference in size and physical strength between the boys and me, and I wanted to try playing baseball with only girls," Rokkaku said.

"I want to tell you that baseball is not only a sport for boys. If you become a female baseball player, regardless of age or country, we are all friends, and I hope we can enjoy women's baseball together and do our best to develop it."