Chinese Taipei’s women softball emergence in the game to be ranked number 3 in the world and number two in Asia, did not happen overnight.
Chinese Taipei are ranked third in the world behind USA and Japan and are second in Asia behind Japan, while China are third, Philippines 4th and Korea 5th.
It was a well designed plan by the Chinese Taipei Softball Association (CTSA) set in motion in 1974, which was a pathway programme to entice women to take up the sports to give a career path through the sport, that set the motion.
Chang Chia-hsing, the secretary general of CTSA, said that it was a programme which has put women softball in Chinese Taipei as a popular sport and doing well in the world.
“It is three tier programme, which begins at the 19 cities in Chinese Taipei, where softball is popularised, coached and played at elementary schools, Junior High Schools, High Schools and Universities,” said Chang, the former teacher who is retired and secretary-general for the last 16 years.
“At city level the softball associations and schools and universities promote the game, while we organise tournaments for age-groups ranging from Under 12 to Under-22,” said Chang who had worked under three presidents during his 16 years as secretary-general.
Now working under current president, Lo Yu-hsin, Chang plods on to ensure this pathway programme continues to churn out women softball players.
He said there are 40 elementary school teams, 20 Junior High School teams, 10 High School teams and seven University teams currently under the programme.
“After their university or High School studies, we work closely with the Government and Education Ministry to place the top players as Physical education teachers, work with city councils and government agencies, while others are given the choice to become coaches at the various levels, while the top class players join the Professional League,” said that 62-year-old Chang who is the organising chairman of the ongoing inaugural U15 Women Softball Asia in Puli Township in Nantoa county.
At the professional league played over two sessions over a nine month period , the five teams play 40 matches.
Chang said that over the years, the programme has produced more than 50 national players.
Currently that national team set-up comprise of the Under-15, Under-18, Under-22 and national team with close to 70 players.
Asked why the concentration on women softball and not men too, Chang said that the men are more interested to play baseball and they start to concentrate on baseball from Universities.
“But we still have a men’s softball team and compete in international tournaments.
“Baseball players also play in the Slow pitch softball game.”
Earlier this month the Chinese Taipei co-ed team won the inaugural Slow Pitch Asia Cup in Pattaya with an unbeaten record and qualified for the World Cup in Mexico.
The men’s team have competed in 7 Asia Cup tournament and their best finish was 3rd.
In the world ranking the Chinese Taipei men’s team are ranked 20th and fourth in Asia.
The ‘Women Power’ in Chinese Taipei Softball look set to continue and their current hope is to wrest the inaugural U15 Women Softball Asia Cup and qualify for the World cup in Japan in October.
Women Softball Team’s records:
World Cup appearances: 16 (first in 1970)
Best Result: 2nd (in 1982)
Olympic Games: 3 times (first at Atlanta Games in 1996)
Best Results: 6th
Asian Championship: 9 (first in 1987)
Best Result: 2nd (4 times and most recently 2018)