World Health Day: WBSC Vice-President Beatrice Allen urges baseball-softball to help create/sustain healthier future for all

World Health Day: WBSC Vice-President Beatrice Allen urges baseball-softball to help create/sustain healthier future for all
On World Health Day, World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Vice-President and Chair of the WBSC Diversity and Inclusivity Commission, Beatrice Allen, reaffirms the international federation’s support for the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) campaign to build a fairer, healthier future for everyone.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the paramount importance of having fit and healthy societies. Whilst many countries around the world are able to provide their populations with services that support health and encourage physical activity, the same cannot be said for others.

At the WBSC we believe passionately in the WHO’s principle that “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.”

As Chair of the WBSC’s Diversity and Inclusivity Commission, it is my responsibility to promote diversity and gender equity in baseball, softball and Baseball5. The Commission is committed to ensuring that those who want to practice our sport are not denied the opportunity to do so based on their gender, race, physical ability, sexual orientation or economic background.

This is particularly important at a time when global health inequalities have unfortunately been worsened by COVID-19, which has pushed more people into food insecurity and strained their access to healthcare services.

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There is no lack of evidence on the role sport can play in boosting health and promoting active lifestyles. I want to echo International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach’s words that “sport and physical activity are the low-cost, high impact tool for healthy body, healthy minds and resilient communities”.

That is why the WBSC and the global baseball-softball community must double down on its efforts to make our sport more accessible than ever before. Whilst baseball-softball have historically provided opportunities for young children, especially girls, as well as ethnic minorities to play and stay in sport, our ability to do good around the world has recently been enhanced after the creation of our newest discipline Baseball5 in 2017.

The low-cost, high-speed and urban version of baseball, has allowed us to take our sport and its values to new communities, which we were not able to reach through our traditional disciplines.

For example, in 2019, with support from Peace and Sport, we introduced Baseball5 to Zaatari, the world’s largest camp for Syrian refugees.

In addition, the WBSC also brought Baseball5 to the Friendship Games in Bujumbura, Burundi, in 2017 and 2018.

Last month, the WBSC joined the Olympic Refuge Foundation's Community (ORF) of Practice, where we will use Baseball5 to increase accessibility to our sport for refugees while the growth of Blind Baseball and Wheelchair Softball around the world is giving more people the chance to play our beautiful game and #StayHealthy and #StayActive.

On World Health Day, I therefore urge the baseball-softball community to continue to seek out ways in which we can make our wonderful sport even more accessible for all. In particular, I encourage you all to target the most marginalised groups in your societies, as they are the ones who will benefit the most from what our team sport has to offer: inclusivity, equality and team building. 

Global Game