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Japanese Baseball Legend Sadaharu Oh Voices Support for Softball/Baseball Olympic Bid
TOKYO, Japan – The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) in partnership with the World Children's Baseball Foundation (WCBF) staged one of the world's most widespread international youth clinics in sport and gained the public support from Japan's legendary sports figure, home run king and baseball Hall of Famer, Sadaharu Oh, for baseball and softball's inclusion on the 2020 Olympic programme.
The six-day "World Children's Baseball Fair" youth baseball educational clinic and friendship games held in Fukui united over 130 children who represented five continents and 13 countries (Australia, Brazil, Bhutan, Cameroon, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Germany, Japan, Nepal, Netherlands, Russia, and USA).
The youth-centered gathering further highlights the capacity of baseball and softball to appeal and connect with boys and girls from all cultures and backgrounds.
The international clinic embodied WBSC's vision to work with the IOC, Olympic sporting federations and national Olympic committees to target youth and future generations in the promotion of health, physical fitness, education and social benefits through sport.
Speaking at the 23rd edition of the World Children's Baseball Fair, Sadaharu Oh expressed his support to WBSC's commitment and efforts to get baseball and softball in the 2020 Olympic Games.
"As Tokyo bids to host the 2020 Olympic Games, and as baseball and softball campaign to be added to the Olympic programme for 2020, I wanted to offer my support to WBSC's campaign and strong efforts.
"If Tokyo wins the honour to host the Olympic Games in 2020, I believe baseball and softball competitions will deliver the peak of Olympic sport, capturing the full attention of our entire nation and others around the world. The electrifying atmosphere of Japan playing at home for the gold medal would give the ballplayers and the fans the most unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
"If the Games go to Europe, baseball and softball's continual rise there and their strengthening worldwide emergence will ensure there is excitement and spectator interest that will build further to 2020 and beyond.
"There has been tremendous progress in the Czech Republic, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, with other great European countries growing baseball and softball cultures. And who could have imagined only five years ago that National Teams from Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia and the Ukraine would be represented in World Championships today?
"That's why I believe every major league around the world should find a way to make its best players available for the Olympic Games - and that is why I believe baseball and softball would be the IOC's best choice on September 8th in Buenos Aires."
Oh, who holds the world-record for career home runs with 868 and played his entire 22-year career with the Yomiuri Giants of Tokyo in the Nippon Professional Baseball League, founded World Children's Baseball Foundation together with legend Hank Aaron, who had the "privilege" of holding the Major League Baseball career home run record for thirty-three years, with 755 homers.
Oh and Aaron helped to establish the World Children's Baseball Fair with the vision of fostering ideas of world understanding and cultural exchange through the celebration of baseball, as they recognized the sport of baseball provides a platform that advocates and teaches teamwork, leadership, fitness, respect, discipline and international friendship.
The International Olympic Committee will hold a vote on September 8th in Buenos Aires to decide which sport to add to the 2020 Olympic Games. Baseball-Softball, squash and wrestling are the three sports that will be on the ballot.
**courtesy of the WBSC