ROME, Italy -- The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) awarded the hosting rights and announced the dates for six qualifying events for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Included in the announcement was the WBSC granting hosting rights to Canada, China and the Netherlands for three Olympic Softball qualifiers.
"These next two years -- 2019 and 2020 -- will be the most important in the history of international baseball and softball," said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. "With the announcement of the locations and timeline of the Olympic qualifiers, players, national federations, leagues and fans around the world can now see the exciting and challenging path it takes to get to Tokyo 2020 -- where the competition for Olympic gold in baseball and softball promises to be among the biggest storylines."
The WBSC Executive Board voted on the decisions at the headquarters of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI), following bid presentations.
The first Olympic Softball qualifier this year will be held in Europe, from July 23-28 in Utrecht, Netherlands. This eight-team qualifying event hosted by the Dutch Baseball and Softball Federation (KNBSB) will allocate one spot to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The competition will feature the top six finishers of the European Championship and the top two softball teams in Africa.
The Americas Olympic Softball Qualifier will be hosted by Softball Canada and staged from August 25 to September 1 in Vancouver, B.C. This qualifier will feature up to 16 National Teams with the top two advancing to the six-team Olympic softball event at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
The Asia/Oceania Qualifier is scheduled for September 24-29 in Shanghai, under host Chinese Softball Association. This Olympic qualifier will feature eight teams -- six from the Asian Games and two from Oceania -- and award the final place to Tokyo 2020.
The USA Softball Women's National Team was the first to qualify for Tokyo 2020, winning the WBSC Women's Softball World Championship last year in Chiba, Japan. Host country Japan has been granted an automatic entry into the 2020 Olympic Baseball and Softball events.
- Information courtesy of WBSC