IBAF Enters Plan for Women’s Baseball in Olympics
- Updated: April 16, 2009
Despite the fact that baseball isn’t even currently an Olympic event for males, the International Baseball Federation announced on Monday that they were going to enter a plan that would add women’s baseball to the Olympic program in 2016.
The federation has already submitted a program to the Olympic Committee asking them to review information in terms of adding regular baseball to the Olympics in 2016 after it will not be played in 2012. The IBAF claimed that it will amend their submission to include a women’s game for the same Olympics. The new part of the submission will have to be submitted to the committee no later than May 1.
According to Dr. Harvey Schiller, the President of the IBAF, “There has been a great amount of talk about adding women’s baseball over the past year, but recently the growth of the sport in places where baseball is already popular, as well as the request by new federations to increase the number of young girls playing in baseball, has led us to move ahead and amend our 2016 proposal.”
Schiller further stated, “We have shown that baseball is a sport for all, and the addition of a women’s discipline for the Olympics…which will take the place of our women’s World Cup in 2016…only further illustrates that point.”
Right now there are over 30 member federations, out of 128, that have a full discipline of baseball for women. Most of these programs have combined gender games for children who have not yet reached age 10. If the committee would approve of the addition the number of members who feature a women’s game would more than double over the next year which would do a number of things including increasing the number of eligible teams for the Women’s World Cup which will take place in 2010. The last Women’s Baseball World Cup took place in Japan in 2008 as the host country beat Canada in the final game before a nearly sold out crowd. The host for the 2010 games has not yet been announced, but there are currently eight countries making a serious bid for the spot.
The federation is also working hard to put together a committee of sports executives who will work on the growth of women in baseball worldwide in order to make the sport more well known and accepted. Baseball Canada member Andrew Lachance has already signed on to the project and so has the president of Baseball Portugal, Sandra Monteiro. Two of the biggest supporters of this movement are Major League Baseball and the Japanese Professional Leagues, which are the two largest leagues of their kind in the world.
Record show that there are over half a million women playing baseball around the world with that number slated to grow greatly over the next few years. Just two weeks ago, Eri Yoshida became the first female to pitch in a professional baseball game in Japan. Yoshida struck out the first batter she faced and probably had a huge impact on the youth in Japan.
Bill Jordan is a contributor to BaseballReflections.com. He can be reached by e-mail at BillJordaniv@yahoo.com.