The Hangzhou Asian Games softball competition ended on Monday and it was thumbs up and accolades given to the organisers by Softball Asia president Datuk Low Beng Choo.
Low, who is also the general secretary of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), said the venue built from ground zero, was an excellent stadium with all the facilities good enough to host a World event.
The venue was the Shaoxing Baseball and Softball Sports Complex, which hosted the softball and baseball. While the softball competition ended on Monday, the baseball competition will end on Saturday.
The complex is located in the north of Shaoxing City. The baseball area includes a main stadium, a second field, a training centre and a fitness centre. The main stadium can seat 5,000 people and add 5,000 temporary seats. The second field has 1,500 seats and can add 1,000 temporary seats.
The training centre includes a five-star hotel managed by Shoulv Nanyuan Hotel Group equipped with 275 rooms, 2,000 dining seats, a 900 square metres banquet hall, theme restaurants and various conference rooms.
The venue is in the Future Community of Shaoxing City, a model project of green building materials.
The softball stadium, on the other hand has a capacity of 2,500 and a second pitch with a capacity of 500.
“The stadiums are of world class standard, with all the facilities and the Hangzhou Asian Games organisers (HAGOC) and China Softball Association (CSA) have done a grand job in organsing the tournaments,” said Low at the end of the Softball competition, where Japan clinched their sixth consecutive Asian Games softball title in impressive style after defeating China 4-0 in the final.
“WBSC president, Riccardo Fraccari, who was here for the Games, visited both venues and was equally impressed,” added Low.
And it is no surprise that WBSC after their earlier visits, announced in April, that the Shaoxing Baseball Softball Sports Culture Center, will host a historic first WBSC baseball event in the country when the Chinese Baseball Association earned the hosting rights for the fifth WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup in 2024.
Pingtan, which is another province, which has excellent softball facilities and last month hosted the U18 Women Softball Asia Cup 2023. The CSA were fully impressed with softball facilities in Pingtan, China, in collaboration with local authorities, that have already offered to set up a training centre with Softball Asia at the end of the tournament.
Low revealed that CSA also had inquired to host a World championship and have been told to make an official bid.
“Now with Shaoxing already hosting the WBSC U23 Baseball championship, we can consider both Pingtan and Shaoxing, for the World U18 Women Softball two qualifiers and for the tournament proper itself, if they are interested and write to WBSC on their bid,” said Low.
“Both have excellent facilities and more than capable of hosting world championships, but they to be committed and meet the WBSC requirements.
“It is still very early stages, but both as hosts of U18 Women Asia Cup and the Hangzhou Asian Games softball championship, have been impressive and have the required facilities. It is now up to them to make the next move to WBSC.”
Shaoxing is a prefecture-level city under the jurisdiction of Zhejiang Province. It is located in the south wing of the Yangtze River delta, and its population exceeds 5 million people.
It is known as “the land of beautiful mountains and rivers, the land of historical and cultural relics, and the land of celebrities”. It also has the reputation as “the town of water, wine, bridge, calligraphy, opera, and celebrities”.
The Shaoxing Municipal Bureau of Sports and the Shaoxing Municipal Bureau of Education launched in April 2022 the plan Let Baseball and Softball into schools, which took baseball/softball to 30 primary and secondary schools.
Pingtan on the other hand, is a marvel of bridges and tunnels – located on the southeast coast of Fujian – has the world’s longest cross-sea road-rail bridge – the 16.34 km bridge that connects Pingtan Island in Fujian with four nearby islets.
Pingtan is located off the eastern coast of Fujian Province, it is under the administration of Fuzhou, the capital city of Fujian Province. Pingtan is adjacent to the Taiwan Strait in the east and Haitan Strait in the west, near Fuqing City and Putian.
Dubbed as the “County of Islands”, Pingtan consists of 126 islands, whose sea area is much larger than the land area, with a 400 km long coastline, offering tip-top romantic coastal views, for example the Longfengtou Beach, with crystal clear water, which is also one of the largest natural beaches in China.
Comprising of so many islands, Pingtan is also known as “Maldives” of China, and it is little surprise that it chooses sport tourism as mode of promoting itself to the world.
Chinese Softball Association (CSA), who are based in Beijing, decided to host the U18 Softball Asia Cup 2023 championship in Pingtan, because of the full support by the Fuzhou Council through its Tourism Department.
The venue of international standard with a capacity of 5,000, which was built in 2014, has undergone many upgrades, including floodlights installed at the main stadium recently.
There is also a practice pitch adjacent to the stadium.
The stadium indeed looks like a replica of the Shaoxing Softball Stadium.