It is ‘new normal’ times amidst the Covid-19 pandemic which has brought the world to its knees, and SOFTBALL ASIA (SA) adopted to the new times when it conducted its 2nd SA Exco meeting online via videoconference this morning.
Although moving away from the normal personal meetings, the meeting chaired by SA president Ms Beng Choo Low this morning which lasted for two hours, was well integrated among the participants.
EXCO members who attended the online meeting were SA advisor Mr Hiromi Tokuda, 1st Vice-president Ms Taelo Utsugi, Vice-presidents Ms Susan Zhang, Ms Kim Eun Young, Mr Jean Henri Lhuillier, Mr Jimmy Fong, Mr Kosol Yimpaiboon, Secretary-general SA, Ms Sally Lim, Secretary to SA Chairman, Mr Chang Chia Hsing, Coaching Chairman Mr Yutake Miyake, Technical chairman, Mr See Kok Wooi, Co-chair Ms Heidi Ip, Scoring chair Ms Chia Mien, co-chair Mr Chang Sy-Chau, Umpire Co-chair Paulo Tabirara, JSA Director, Mr T. Okamoto, JSA secretariat and Media Officer Tony Mariadass.
SA were very thankful to Aki Huang (WBSC) for waking up so early, about 3 a.m. (in Rome) this morning to assist to set-up (using WBSC’s Zoom system) and stayed until the end of the meeting, about 12.00 noon.
Amongst the matters discussed were:
- An update was received on the current situation in several Asian countries:
- Whilst many softball events and tournaments have had to be postponed, several Asian countries such as China, Hong Kong-China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Chinese-Taipei and Thailand, were able to complete several of their national-level / domestic competitions, in accordance with and observing local health standard operating procedures and requirements:
- China completed their National Softball Championship and National Trophy tournaments whilst its National Junior tournament will start this week. The tournament has been changed to that of a “fully-loaded” format which has generated more excitement and greater media interest. National Slow-pitch tournament started last month (September) and finals scheduled in December 2020.
- Hong Kong – China is looking forward to re-starting its Softball league & Universities tournaments next month (November) – it was halted in June.
- Korea completed 2 of its 3 scheduled National Softball tournaments, 1 in June and the other in September this year. It hopes to start the Softball league next month (November).
- Japan’s National Women Softball league started in September, and the National Men’s Softball league would start in November
- Singapore completed its National Women’s Softball tournament but have yet to complete its Men’s Softball tournament.
- Chinese-Taipei was fortunate to be able to hold all its scheduled Softball tournaments this year, with the Professional Women’s Softball League proceeding to the finals this coming weekend. It is also planning an induction ceremony for its WBSC Softball Hall of Famer this weekend.
- Thailand completed its Thailand Masters tournament and is looking forward to starting its Universities tournament this month (October) and Thailand Championship end of November.
- Whilst many tournaments have been postponed, some National Softball Federations, such as Singapore, have resumed physical training for small groups and hope to resume larger scale physical training sessions and slow-pitch tournament soon. Others, such as Philippines, have focussed on online physical and mental training.
- Several, such as China, Japan and Philippines, have been doing a lot more online events and activities, such as online seminars (webinars), online interaction, to continue to generate interest and engagement, and to bring together their athletes and fans. They find increased online following. For example, Philippines took the lockdown situation to improve its website and social media content, which has seen a huge leap in following on its website, Facebook and Instagram. The coaches from Singapore who participated in the WBSC-Asia Softball Coaching Certification Seminar in January 2020 in Penang Malaysia are helping with a project for online coaching.\
- Several, such as China, Korea, Japan and Singapore, have reinforced their collaboration and cooperation with the education departments to promote T-ball and Baseball5 activities.
- Softball Asia’s Biennial Congress which was scheduled to be held in December 2020 in Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia, will now be held online at the end of this year – there will be no elections as the current EXCO’s term completes only in 2022. The dates have yet to be finalised.
- Softball Asia is planning the following Asia Cups, to qualify teams from Asia eligible to participate in the respective World Cups:
- U23 Men Softball Asia Cup in the first half of 2021.
- Men Softball Asia Cup in the second half of 2021.
- Asian Universities Women Softball Asia Cup in the second half of 2021.
- Baseball5 Asia Cup in the first half of 2021.
- Softball Asia, through its SA Coaching Committee, has started a joint collaboration project with Japan Softball Association, for Coaching Webinars, with the first online content and videos to be completed in November 2020. The project is led by Mr. Yutake Miyake, the SA Coaching Committee Chair and new JSA President, and his team, and it is proceeding smoothly. Other webinars for umpiring, scoring webinars are being discussed.
- Chinese Softball (as well as Chinese Baseball) have been in close communication and good cooperation with Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 Organising Committee (HAGOC 2022) on the construction of the new Baseball-Softball venues – construction works have started and progressing well. The HAGOC 2022 will be contacting Softball Asia as regards appointment of the Technical Delegate for the AG 2022 as well as proposals for test event and other activities requirements.
- Softball Asia plans to hold its next online meeting late November/early December.
The meeting ended with the members pleased with the online meeting and requested that such online meetings be held regularly for better integration among members and to keep abreast with latest information and exchange