TRECHT, Netherlands -- The Italian National Softball Team earned a place in the 2020 Olympic Games, defeating Great Britain, 5-0, in the final of the WBSC Women's Softball Europe/Africa Qualification Event for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo 2020.
It will be the third time that Italy will participate and represent Europe in an Olympic softball event, the pinnacle of the sport.
The qualifier in Utrecht included the top softball nations across Europe and Africa, including Botswana, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Italy, Netherlands, South Africa and Spain.
Italy joins host nation Japan and the 2018 WBSC Softball World Champions, USA, as the first three nations qualified for the six-team Tokyo 2020 Olympic softball competition.
The remaining three nations will be determined at the next two WBSC Softball qualifiers. Two nations from the WBSC Softball Americas Qualifier will advance to the Olympic Games. Twelve nations will compete in the Americas qualifier, which will be held in Surrey, Canada, from August 25 to September 1.
The winner of the eight-team WBSC Softball Asia/Oceania Qualifier will complete the field at Tokyo 2020. This intercontinental qualifier will be be held in Shanghai, China, from September 24-28.
Softball will have the honour of kicking off next year's Olympic Games on 22 July with special opening games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium.
Super round final standings
- Great Britain
- Czech Republic
Greta Cecchetti, Italian pitcher, said: ''It's dream come true! I can't describe what I'm feeling right now. The last 40 days were great. We won the European Championships three weeks ago and today we got the ticket for Tokyo 2020. What is the secret of this victory? The group won these games''.
Erika Piancastelli, Italian outfielder, and three-time NFCA All-American said: ''I'm feeling a lot of emotions. We are going to the Olympics. It's such a crazy thing. We did a lot in these weeks. We broke records, we showed everybody who Italy really is. I think the biggest emotion is happiness. It's amazing what we did''.
- Courtesy of WBSC