Historic Olympic return highlights WBSC 2020 events calendar

Historic Olympic return highlights WBSC 2020 events calendar
A total of 11 events will be organized during 2020, marked by baseball and softball's return to the Olympics and four new World Cups.

The historic return of baseball and softball to the Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020 will be the highlight of a very intense and fascinating year of WBSC events in 2020, that will start in February with the first of seven Baseball Softball World Cups.

WBSC 2020 Events Calendar download available here.

On 22 July Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Mexico and USA will take the field at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium to mark the debut of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games softball competition. Softball will have the honour of being the first Tokyo 2020 official competition. Game 1 of the softball competition, to be held in Fukushima on 22 July, 9 a.m. Japan Standard Time (JST), will launch all competitions at next year’s Olympic Games - two days before the opening ceremony - turning the the long time dream of all softball fans around the world into reality: The historic comeback of the sport to the Olympic programme. The gold medal game and the bronze medal game will be played on 28 July at Yokohama Baseball Stadium.

The following day, the six-team Tokyo 2020 baseball competition will start, with Game 1 being held in Fukushima. Israel, Japan, Korea and Mexico are already qualified, with the two final spots to be decided in next year’s Americas Baseball Qualifier, and Final Baseball Qualifier. The gold medal game will be held on 8 August, in Yokohama, the day before the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games.

A total of six games will be held in Fukushima. These matches will be further evidence of Tokyo 2020's commitment to bringing sports events to the recovering areas and will demonstrate the power of sport. Tokyo 2020, together with the WBSC, believes the hosting of events in Fukushima will support recovery efforts in the overall Tohoku region, which was hit in the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

Canada, Cuba, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, USA and Venezuela will contest the WBSC Americas Baseball Qualifier  in Arizona from 22-26 March to define the fifth national team advancing to Tokyo 2020. The winner of the event will automatically qualify for the Olympic Games, while second and third finishers will have the last chance to play in the Olympic Games in the Final Qualifier.

The Final Qualifier will be played in Taichung, Chinese Taipei, from 1-5 April. Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, the Netherlands and the two representatives from the Americas (second and third of the Americas Qualifier) will battle for the last spot in the Olympic Games baseball event.

New U-18 Softball World Cups

The first WBSC event of the year will be the U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup in Palmerston North, New Zealand. Twelve teams from the five continents have qualified and will battle For the Title of World Champion from 22 February to 1 March: Argentina, Australia (U-19 world champion), Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and USA (wild card). It will be the first-ever World Cup for this age category, replacing the former Junior Men’s Softball World Championship (U-19).

The second 2020 softball world cup will be held in Lima, Peru. The first-ever edition of the U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup will be held from 21-30 August, and features the world’s best players from 16 countries in the U-18 category. A total of 14 teams have already qualified: Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Czech Republic, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, the Philippines (wild card), Puerto Rico and USA (three-time U-19 world champion), have secured their place in Lima. The representatives from Africa (2) and Oceania (2) will be defined at the start of 2020.

Mexico, the home of baseball in 2020

After the III WBSC Congress Mexico became the epicentre of international baseball in 2020. The three WBSC baseball World Cups of the year will be held in the Central American nation: the U-15, U-23 and Women’s World Cup.

From 3-12 July, Tijuana will receive the top 12 nations in the world to compete in the U-15 Baseball World Cup 2020. The Mexican border city will receive Cuba, Dominican Republic, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico (wild card), Panama, Chinese Taipei, USA (world champion) and Venezuela. The last two nations will come from Africa and Oceania.

The second WBSC baseball world cup of the year will be the Women’s Baseball World Cup, to be held from 11-20 September in Monterrey. Canada, China, Cuba (wild card), Mexico, France, Japan, the Netherlands (wild card), the Philippines, Chinese Taipei, USA and Venezuela have secured their place in the World Cup. One team from Oceania is still to be confirmed.

Two cities will host the IV WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup, from 2-11 October. The best 12 nations in the world will travel to Ciudad Obregon and Hermosillo to battle For the Title of World Champion in Mexico. China, Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Korea (wild card), New Zealand and Chinese Taipei have secured their place in the global event, while four teams from the Americas and one from Africa will complete the field of teams.

Baseball5 World Cup

The year 2020 will also be groundbreaking for the new WBSC urban, mixed discipline Baseball5, which will stage its first-ever World Cups. Mexico will host the historic 5-on-5 inaugural event both for senior and U-15 age categories, from 7-13 December.