Year two of WBSC's Federation Focus series showcases 10 different countries

Year two of WBSC's Federation Focus series showcases 10 different countries
The WBSC published the first episode of its 'Federation Focus' series in January 2020 -- it featured Palestine. The series focuses on the various cultures and activities in the growing world of baseball and softball.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation's (WBSC) Federation Focus series continues to tell the stories and explore the various cultures and activities of national baseball and softball federations around the world providing a fascinating insight into our game around the world.

First published in January 2020, the second year of the series visited 11 more national federations in 2021, exploring how our game is developing in 10 different countries.

Europe: Finland, Spain, Israel

The January episode took the WBSC to Finland, where the baseball and softball federation (SBSL) is a section of the Pesäpallo Federation. Pesäpallo is the Finnish version of baseball. Actually, pesä means in Finnish base and pallo means ball. The Finnish federation president, Jukka Ropponen, a baseball Hall of Famer, detailed his development plan.

The WBSC virtually travelled to Spain in June. Former Olympian Jesus Lisarri has been serving as the president of the Royal Spanish Baseball and Softball Federation ( RFEBS) since December 2020. He wants to further develop the game by giving more visibility to the top baseball and softball leagues.

The Israel Association of Baseball (IAB) was featured in the November episode. National Team General Manager and former federation president Peter Kurz helped the WBSC discover a baseball miracle. Israel qualified for the European Championship for the first time in 2019. From there they went all the way to an historic participation at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Americas: Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic

The February episode was about the Chile Baseball and Softball Federation (FECHIBEIS). The country is targeting the 2023 Pan American Games to boost the practice and popularity of baseball and softball. General Manager Norge Nuñez illustrated a plan to have semi-professional baseball and softball leagues as early as 2022.

The WBSC returned to the Americas in April to learn more about baseball and softball activity in Costa Rica. Adrian Alfaro, the president of the Costa Rican Baseball Federation, is a softball player and has a close relationship with Roberto Castro, the president of the softball federation. The two governing bodies work as a team together with the government.

Chile and Costa Rica are baseball/softball developing countries. The Americas is as diverse as it gets when it comes to baseball and softball. The Dominican Republic has baseball in its DNA. The WBSC had a chance to talk to Amaurys Nina, a former professional player in charge of baseball operations for FEDOBE, the Dominican Baseball Federation.
The Dominican Republic earned a bronze medal in Tokyo, but still, FEDOBE wants to increase its development activity, especially organized and integrated at the grassroots level.

Asia: Korea, Lao, Japan

The March episode was about the Korea Baseball Softball Association (KBSA).
Korea is a Baseball World Cup and Premier12 winner and an Olympic baseball gold medallist. The country hasn't had quite the same success in softball. KBSA elected Chong-hoon Lee as the new President in January 2021. Mr Lee believes that improving the awareness of softball in the country is an "exciting challenge" and also considers that Baseball5 is a vital tool for success.

Korea is also trying to export baseball to other Asian countries. The WBSC had the chance to document the fantastic work that former Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) star Man-soo Lee is doing to develop the Lao Baseball Federation, one of the newest WBSC members.

The August and September episodes were about the Olympic gold medalists. Japan won gold in baseball and softball, giving the WBSC a perfect chance to focus on both federations.
Shinsuke Yabata, a Japan Softball Association (JSA) Executive Board Member, is the National Team director and spoke about the selection process. Atsushi Nagamata, the head of International Affairs and PR with the Baseball Federation of Japan (BFJ) spoke to the WBSC about how the BFJ is ready to build on their Tokyo success.

Africa: Tanzania

Growing baseball and softball in Africa is one of the major targets in taking the game to the next level in terms of globalization. The July edition was about Tanzania, where the Tanzania Baseball & Softball Association (TaBSA), another recent (2017) WBSC member, targeted schools to boost baseball, softball development. Secretary-General Alpherio Moris Nchimbi told the WBSC that the National Sports Council recognized baseball and softball thanks to the increasing number of participating students. TaBSA has recently introduced Baseball5 and Baseball for the Blind.

You might also be interested in:
- Federation Focus November: Israel Baseball
- Federation Focus October: Dominican Republic Baseball
- Federation Focus special edition: Japan wins Olympic baseball gold
- Federation Focus special edition: Japan wins softball Olympic gold
- Federation Focus July: Tanzania Baseball Softball
- Federation Focus June: Spanish Baseball Softball
- Federation Focus May: Lao Baseball
- Federation Focus April: Costa Rica Baseball and Softball
- Federation Focus March: Korea Baseball Softball
- Federation Focus February: Chile Baseball
- Federation Focus January: Finland Baseball Softball
- The 2020 Federation Focus series