OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Four busy days of softball business concluded here tonight at the International Softball Federation’s XXV Congress, marking the first time in 10 years that the event has taken place in the United States. Delegates from exactly 70 countries were on-hand for meetings covering both on- and off-field activity.
The adjournment of the meeting at the Oklahoma City Marriott was preceded by the awarding of the next ISF Congress (2013). In electronic balloting, Cartagena, Colombia, won a close vote over Prague, Czech Republic.
The day began with a presentation by International World Games Association President Ron Froelich, who talked about the multi-sport event that softball (women’s fast pitch) was a part of in 2009 (Taiwan) and will again be on the programme of in two years (Cali, Colombia). Mr. Froelich is also a member of the International Olympic Committee’s Programme Commission and made remarks during a forum yesterday on softball’s Olympic reinstatement efforts, as one of the eight sports on the shortlist announced this past July by the IOC for the 2013 vote on the 2020 Games Programme.
Following Mr. Froelich’s presentation, the delegates heard from representatives of Special Olympics, with whom the ISF signed a partnership agreement in June. ISF President Don Porter and ISF 1st Vice President Dale McMann then awarded the ISF Medal of Honor – the highest recognition given by the world governing body – to Special Olympics, who was represented by Samantha Powell, a Special Olympics softball athlete from Oklahoma City, in accepting the honor.
Other honorees coming out of this session are the latest class elected by the ISF Hall of Fame Commission and approved by the full Congress. They include:
PLAYERS: Peta Edebone (Australia), Linda Marie Ford (Bahamas), Paul Maisey (Australia), Robert “Chubb” Tangaroa (New Zealand), Ray Tilley (Canada), Gina Weber (New Zealand)
COACHES: Alfred “Ali” Culmer (Bahamas), Bob Harrow (Australia), Ramon Lopez (Venezuela), Hung-Cheng Tseng (Chinese Taipei)
ADMINISTRATORS: Juan Manuel Arambula (Mexico), Franco Caverzan (Venezuela), Guller Eriksen (Denmark)
MERITORIOUS SERVICE: Russell Moffat (New Zealand)
The Congress also gave their support to the continuation of talks with the International Baseball Federation to explore the possibility of a joint Olympic reinstatement bid.
In addition to the next Congress, other host cities chosen for future ISF events were Haarlem, Netherlands (2014 Women’s World Championship), Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada) (2014 Jr. Men’s World Championship), and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Canada) (2015 Men’s World Championship).
South Africa, the host of next month’s ISF IX Jr. Women’s World Championship (19-and-under, fast pitch), also gave a presentation today, updating the delegates on the progress of the 16-nation tournament that gets underway in 37 days.
The ISF is the world governing body of the sport as recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and SportAccord (formerly the General Association of International Sports Federations). Softball (women's fast pitch) made its Olympic debut at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. There are 128 affiliated countries in the ISF and millions of participants in the sport worldwide.
-Courtesy of the ISF