SOFTBALL Asia (SA) held an all-important Executive Council meeting this afternoon at a leading Hotel in Kuala Lumpur to finalise many of its tournaments which had to be postponed by the Covid-19 pandemic the last two years.The Covid-19 pandemic situation had taken a toll on various sectors and sports was no exemption.
SA president Datuk Low Beng Choo, who is also the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) secretary general and chair of the WBSC-Asia Baseball 5 Commission, in chairing the meeting, said that it was good to meet face-to-face after such a longtime because of the pandemic restrictions.
“But more importantly this meeting is very important for us to move forward and get back on track. We in Asia have a lot to do to catch up in softball which has progressed tremendously, and the Covid-19 was no help,” Low.
“We have also decided to have this meeting to coincide with the Asia Cup Baseball 5 which will begin tomorrow, so that members can witness the tournament and have first hand knowledge on how the tournament is managed and experience the new 5-on-5 sport discipline which is fast, exciting, can be played on any surface, small area and minimum equipment.”
After a welcome and opening speech by chairman Pan Yi Chuan and Low, it was down to business immediately, to name the host of all the tournaments which were postponed and with utmost urgency because all these tournaments served as qualifiers for the World Cup.
With the Federations equally keen to get back in the groove, hosts for the many postponed and new tournaments, were decided in a breeze.
Following were the dates and host of the various tournaments decided:
- Women Softball Asia Cup 2023 (Qualifier for World Cup Group Stage – summer 2023 in Italy, Northern Ireland and Spain (3 Asia teams) – July August (Supposed to have used the Hangzhou Asian Games as qualifier but with it postponed to next year September, the qualifier had to be held before July).
Korea’s president, Lee Chong Hoon, who is a member of WBSC, reaffirmed his commitment made to WBSC, to host the tournament between April and mid May next year.
- U15 Women Softball Asia Cup 2023 (Qualifier for World Cup 2023) (2 Asia teams).
China who postponed the tournament earlier, will continue to host the tournament and come back with the dates.
- U18 Men Softball Asia Cup 2023 (Qualifier for World Cup in 2023 (2 Asia teams). Thailand and Malaysia will discuss to host the tournament not later than June. Singapore were interested too, but their venue is not ready yet.
- Slow Pitch Softball Asia Cup 2023 (Qualifier 1st World Cup in 2023 (3 Asia teams). Malaysia will host this mixed team event in collaboration with Softball Asia.
- Baseball5 Asia Cup (U18-Youth) Asia Cup (Qualifier for World Cup in 2023 (3 Asia teams). Malaysia in collaboration with Softball Asia who were supposed to host it simultaneously with the Asia Cup Baseball5 which starts in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow (Aug 17-19), will continue to host it. Malaysia did not hold it together with the Asia Cup Baseball 5, for safety measures because of Covid 19 as youth are involved and did want to over crowd the venue.
- Asian Universities Women Asia Cup Softball 2022 tournament. Thailand will host in Pattaya from Dec 14-17. Teams competing are Hong Kong,, India Japan,Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore Thailand, Chinese Taipei and Korea.
Tournaments for qualifiers in 2024
- U18 Women Softball Asia Cup (Qualifier for World Cup
Group Stage in 2024 (3 teams from Asia).
Chinese Taipei will host the tournament in December 2023
in Puli where they have two new pitches.
- Men Softball Asia Cup (Qualifier for World Cup Group Stage in 2024 (2 teams from Asia) – Group Stage 2024. Strong possibility of Saudi Arabia hosting it as they already have good pitches.
- Asia Cup Baseball Open 2023 5 qualifier for 2024 World Cup. Korea will host end of the year or next year.
Other matters discussed include:
To discuss and consider the election and appointment of the Athletes’ Representatives onto the SA EXCO. It was decided that it will be done at next year’s Asia Cup men and women tournament to be elected by the athletes at the tournament after nominations by National Federations.
An update on the SA U23 Men Softball Play-off (3 teams only – Japan, Singapore and India) – World Cup Qualifier (2 Asia teams) – Sept 1-2 and the SA Men Softball Asia Cup – World Cup Qualifier (2 Asia teams) – Sept 3-6, from Hong Kong, Japan, India, Singapore, Thailand and Philippines, was given by Japan’s Tomoaki Okamoto, the Executive Director of Japan Softball Association.
Both tournaments will be held in Kochi and Okamoto said they were all ready to receive the teams with all safety measures related to the Covid-19 in place and will be strictly followed.
The Council also endorsed the appointment of Coaching Committee chairman Tomoaki Okamoto while previouds chairman Yutaka Miyake will be the adviser to the committee.
Taeko Utsugi and Shinsuke Yabata were appointed joint chair persons for the Development Committee while Malaysia’s See Kok Wooi and China’s Susan Zhang Xuan were appointed co-chair persons of the Technical Committee.
The appointment of the chairman for the Umpires and Scoring Committees was deferred to later date.
The meeting was adjourned with next meeting to be held in Kuala Lumpur in December or January.