History of Softball Asia
The continental/regional governing body for Softball started as the Amateur Association of Asia (ASA-Asia) with the formal adoption of its constitution by representatives of 7 national/territorial softball associations, namely, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Singapore and Chinese-Taipei, with the primary objective of promoting and strengthening goodwill and friendship amongst the Asian countries/territories through the sport of softball.
The 1st Asian Women Softball Championship was held in 1967 in Manila, Philippine, with Japan as Asian champion, Philippines the runner-up and Chinese-Taipei third. The 2nd Asian Women Softball Championship was held in 1969 in Chinese-Taipei, with Japan retaining the title of Asian Women Softball champion, Philippines as runner-up and Chinese-Taipei third. The 3rd Asian Women Softball Championship was held in 1972, in Manila, Philippines, where Philippines emerged as the new Asian Women Softball champion; Japan was runner-up and Chinese-Taipei third.
The 1st Asian Men Softball Championship was held in Manila, Philippines in 1968, with Philippines as Asian Men Softball champion and Japan as runner-up.
Due to unfortunate circumstances, ASA-Asia did not sustain continuous momentum of activities and events for several years thereafter. Efforts were made to re-activate ASA-Asia with the hosting of the 2nd Asian Men Softball Championship in 1974 in Manila, Philippines, with Philippines retaining the title of Asian Men Softball champion and Japan as runner-up.
The momentum was again hampered by unfortunate circumstances. The 3rd Asian Men Softball Championship was only held in 1985 in Shizuoka, Japan, with Japan emerging as the new Asian Men Softball champion; Chinese-Taipei was runner-up and Philippines was third.
The 4th Asian Women Softball Championship was not held until 1987 in Japan, with China as the new Asian Women Softball champion, Japan as runner-up and Chinese-Taipei was third.
With the introduction of Women Softball as a medal sport in the Beijing Asian Games in 1990, and the inclusion of Women Softball in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996, and under the able leadership and committed guidance of Dr. Steven Huang Shu Woei, the then Vice-President for Asia in the then international federation, namely, International Softball Federation (ISF), efforts were renewed to re-activate ASA-Asia again in 1990.
The 4th Asian Men Softball Championship was held in 1990 in Manila, Philippines, with Philippines re-emerging as Asian Men Softball champion, Chinese-Taipei as runner-up and Japan was third.
The ASA-Asia held its members Congress simultaneously with that Championship in 1990. The Congress saw the formal reconstitution of ASA-Asia, with an amended Constitution adopted, and proactive steps taken for the revival of Asian softball by 11 member-national/territorial softball associations, namely, China, DPR Korea (North Korea), Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Singapore, Chinese-Taipei and Thailand.
With that 1990 revival, ASA-Asia took major steps to promote and develop softball in Asia, which saw its growth in popularity and level of competitive-play. Women softball continued to be retained in the 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games and in every edition of the Asian Games since then, namely, 1998 Bangkok Asian Games, 2002 Busan Asian Games, 2006 Doha Asian Games, 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, 2014 Incheon Asian Games, 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games and it has been included in the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. Asian softball members also played an important role in the inclusion of women softball in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games until the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and in its return to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Regular Asian Men and Asian Women Softball Championships have continued to he held. In 1997, a new milestone was achieved with the hosting of the 1st Asian Junior Men Softball Championship in Chennai, India and the 1st Asian Junior Women Softball Championship, both in the Under-19 age category.
The top Asian softball teams have continuously qualified to participate in the Olympic Games, Softball Men and Women World Championships/World Cups, often finishing on the podium or amongst the top ten.
At the 16th ASA-Asia Congress in 2002, held in Shenzhen, China, members reviewed the organisation of ASA-Asia. In keeping with the changing world trend and the Olympic move to open the sports to all softball participants (amateurs and professionals) and to reflect the consolidation of all federations/associations within Asia, ASA-Asia was revamped and its name changed to “Softball Confederation Asia” (SCA).
SCA’s Constitution was also reviewed and amended. Amongst the changes, it provided for the ISF Vice President for Asia to be brought on board onto the SCA Executive Committee (EXCO) as automatic At-Large EXCO Members, for closer and synergetic cooperation between ISF and SCA.
In 2013, the ISF merged with the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) to form the IOC-recognised merged international federation of “World Baseball Softball Confederation” (WBSC).
SCA continued to foster and build on its strong association and collaboration with WBSC for the promotion and development of Softball in Asia and worldwide.
In 2018, another review was done with the launch of a new name “Softball Asia” and a refreshed logo. The Constitution was also reviewed and amended, with the recognition of Softball Asia by the WBSC affirmed therein. The Asian Softball Championships were also renamed “Asia Cups” in line with the WBSC’s world-level championships as “World Cups”.
Softball Asia’s Asia Cups comprise of Women Softball and Men Softball, with the introduction of Under 23 Men Softball, Under 18 (in place of the previous Under 19) for both Men & Women, Under 15 for Girls, as well as the new Under 12 Mixed Teams, to streamline with and serve as qualifiers for the Asian teams to participate in the WBSC World Cups of the similar categories.