Athletes Commission: New members, new start

Athletes Commission: New members, new start
04/12/2019
Randolph Oduber from the Netherlands (pictured right) is the new Men's Baseball representative. Bruno Motroni, Argentina (pictured left), is the new Men's Softball member. The Commission is co-chaired by Maria Soto (Women's Softball, Venezuela - pictured centre) and Justin Huber (Men's Baseball, Australia).

The WBSC Athletes Commission recently completed elections and now with a full complement of members, it’s set to help globalise baseball, softball and baseball5 and make sure athletes all around the world play their part in the process, especially with an exciting Olympic year ahead.

"I look forward to the Athletes Commission having a key role in 2020, an Olympic year," said Athletes Commission co-chair Maria Soto. "I think we can really work together and help the full reinstatement of baseball and softball in the Olympic programme for good."

The 41-year-old former softball star played for the Venezuelan National Team for 18 years, representing her country at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games - where she was also flag bearer at the opening ceremony - three Pan American Games (silver medal in Rio 2007), and six World Championships. As one of the longest playing members in her national team - Soto participated in the Americas Softball Olympic qualification tournament in Canada earlier this year – she is aiming to make a big difference inside and outside of baseball, softball and baseball5: "We have started to be more visible to our peers and I think they will have more confidence in us, thanks to the job we are doing."

Meanwhile, co-chair Justin Huber of Australia recently talked of the goals of the Athlete Commission in an interview published by the International Olympic Committee.

"We’re just continuing to stick to our main strategic drivers, one of which is to be the voice at the executive decision-making level of the athletes, and we’ve got some big projects that we’re working through to achieve that by the middle of next year. Probably the biggest, most immediate preparation step remaining is that we have an undertaking to support athlete wellbeing and safeguarding at the tournament. That’s something that we have taken on as a main focus."

In addition to Soto (Venezuela; Women's Softball) and Huber (Australia; Men's Baseball), who are also members of the WBSC Executive Board, the other Athlete Commission members are Ashley Stephenson (Canada; Women's Baseball), Erika Polidori (Canada; Women's Softball), Pauline Prade (France; Women's Softball), Bruno Motroni (Argentina; Men’s Softball) and Randolph Oduber (Netherlands; Men’s Baseball).

The election of Oduber as the men’s baseball representative, which took place during last month’s Premier12, completed the Athletes Commission. A native of Aruba, Oduber is an outfielder who spent six seasons in the Washington Nationals organization, played in the Dutch Hoofdsklasse for Neptunus Rotterdam and is currently on the roster of the Lincoln Saltdogs of the independent American Association.

Meanwhile, June saw Motroni, the starting catcher and team captain for world champions Argentina, elected as the men’s softball representative during the WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship in the Czech Republic.

Both members were present along with Soto at last month’s WBSC Congress and Executive Board meeting.

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