Softball Asia Congress confirms three qualifiers for WBSC World Cups in 2021

Softball Asia Congress confirms three qualifiers for WBSC World Cups in 2021
Next year, Softball Asia will host two qualifiers for WBSC Softball World Cups, as well as a qualifying tournament for the inaugural WBSC Baseball5 World Cup 2022.

Softball Asia (SA) held its 25th SA Congress on Tuesday (15 December) with representatives of 11 National Federation Members. The congress was carried out virtually due to travel restrictions and other health and safety measures imposed throughout Asia. WBSC President Riccardo FRACCARI and WBSC Executive Director Michael SCHMIDT attended the meeting as special guests.

SA Executive Committee officials and delegate-representatives from 11 affiliate-members were present in the meeting: Brunei, China, Hong Kong-China, Iran, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Chinese Taipei and Thailand. 

“It is very important for me to be with you today, with the honour of opening the 25th Asia Softball Congress,” said Fraccari at the opening of the Congress. “This year has been like no other in history. And sport has been one of the industries hit the hardest with tournament cancellations and postponements that has provided many challenges. However, it has also given us all more perspective and time to think and analyse the present and the future of our sport and our organisation, in order to be better equipped for the future.”

The Congress confirmed Asia's 2021 international softball calendar. The Men’s Softball Asia Cup (host and dates to be confirmed) will qualify two teams for the WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup 2022, which will be played in Auckland, New Zealand, from 19-27 February 2022. In addition, the U-23 Men’s Softball Asia Cup (tentative host - Singapore) will grant two spots for the maiden WBSC U-23 Men’s Softball World Cup, which will be played in Argentina. Technical, Scorers, & Umpires Seminars will be organised in conjunction with one of the above Asia Cup tournaments.

Softball Asia will also be hosting the first Baseball5 Asia Cup (tentative host - Malaysia), a qualifying event for the first-ever WBSC Baseball5 World Cup, recently confirmed for 2022. During the tournament, WBSC and Softball Asia will host a Baseball5 Technical Seminar for coaches.

Finally, the SA Congress approved the distribution of softball equipment to India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand.

Minute of silence for Yan Fang

At the beginning of the Congress, all attendees observed a minute of silence in memory of the late Ms FANG Yan, a WBSC Softball Hall of Fame member.

Fang, born in Beijing in 1969, was an outstanding female softball player and former captain of Chinese Women's National Softball Team. In 1996, she helped China win the silver medal at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games and finish fourth at Sydney 2000. Moreover, she helped China win three consecutive gold medals at the Asian Games (1990, 1994 and 1998).

In 2019, she established the Yan Fang Softball Fund, which will continue helping the development of youth softball in China.