The Italian National Softball Team today earned a place in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, defeating Great Britain,5-0, in the Final of the Softball Qualifier Event Europe/Africa for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad Tokyo 2020. It will be the third time that Italy will participate and represent Europe in an Olympic softball event, the pinnacle of the sport.
“Congratulations to the Italian softball athletes, the Italian Baseball Softball Federation FIBS, and the Italian National Olympic Committee CONI for earning the right to compete in the Olympic softball event at the Tokyo 2020 Games, where baseball and softball promise to be one of the main attractions,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. “Thanks to the local organizing committee and the beautiful city of Utrecht for an extremely well organized tournament. It’s been a privilege for everybody to be your guests during the last week”.
The qualifier in Utrecht included the top softball nations across Europe and Africa, including Botswana, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, South Africa and Spain.
Italy joins host nation Japan and the 2018 WBSC Softball World Champions, USA, as the first three nations qualified for the six-team Tokyo 2020 Olympic softball competition. The remaining three nations will be determined at the next two WBSC Softball Qualifier events. Two nations from the WBSC Softball Americas Qualifier will advance to the Olympic Games. Twelve nations will compete in the Americas qualifier, which will be held in Surrey, Canada, from 25 August to 1 September. The winner of the eight-team WBSC Softball Asia/Oceania Qualifier will complete the field at Tokyo 2020. This intercontinental qualifier will be be held in Shanghai, China, from 24-28 September.
Softball will have the honour of kicking off next year’s Olympic Games on 22 July with special opening games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium.
Greta Cecchetti, Italian pitcher, said: ”It’s dream come true! I can’t describe what I’m feeling right now. The last 40 days were great. We won the European Championships three weeks ago and today we got the ticket for Tokyo 2020. What is the secret of this victory? The group won these games”.
Erika Piancastelli, Italian outfielder, said: ”I’m feeling a lot of emotions. We are going to the Olympics. It’s such a crazy thing. We did a lot in these weeks. We broke records, we showed everybody who Italy really is. I think the biggest emotion is happiness. It’s amazing what we did”.
Super Round final standings
- Great Britain
- the Netherlands
- Czech Republic