ISF president: “With odds of 2 out of 7 to make shortlist, softball will re-double efforts to communicate incredible value to Olympic Movement”
Plant City, Florida (USA); 30th March 2009: International Softball Federation President Don Porter has pledged to re-double efforts to get softball reinstated to the Olympic Games Programme in 2016 following the news that the International Olympic Committee will shortlist only two sports for the IOC Session vote in Copenhagen in October.
The shortlist news was delivered by IOC President Jacques Rogge last week at SportAccord in Denver where a top BackSoftball campaign team were busy meeting Olympic Family decision-makers and opinion formers.
Mr. Porter said, “While the decision to cut the list to only two sports for a vote by 115 IOC Members was a surprise, it has not deflected the commitment behind, and focus of, our campaign. If anything it has given us further incentive to work even harder at communicating the incredible value that softball offers the Olympic Movement. We are greatly encouraged by the way IOC Members are reacting to how softball would help the Olympic Movement open up women’s sport – especially in Muslim countries; they also like our global focus on youth and our 100% doping-free track record.
“But most of all, IOC Members appreciate that the Olympic Games would be the absolute pinnacle of our international competition structure; the whole softball calendar would peak every quadrennial with the Olympic Games. While I cannot comment on other sports, I can tell you that the Olympic Games would not be just another competition in an over-crowded calendar for softball. For millions of softball players around the world the Olympic Games would be the greatest honor and we guarantee that the world’s best softball athletes would all commit to performing at the Olympic Games.”
Meanwhile the BackSoftball Campaign has moved to their fifth continent in a month with a critical presentation to the Oceania National Olympic Committee Annual Assembly tomorrow in Queenstown, New Zealand. The presentation will be led by Ms. Low Beng Choo, ISF Deputy Secretary General, and Danielle Stewart, a 2008 Olympic softball bronze medalist from Australia. Ms. Low is also the Malaysian Softball Federation President, Softball Confederation of Asia Secretary General, and a member of the IOC Women and Sport Commission.
Softball was first featured in the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996 and last year’s competition in Beijing, which was won by Japan, was hugely successful with a total attendance close to 180,000 and a continuation of the sport’s excellent record of no positive drug tests in major competitions.