02/08/2018 - 12/08/2018

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XVI Women's Softball World Championship 2018 - Official Payoff

“Japan is the best place to host the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship”

“Japan is the best place to host the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship”
01/08/2018

It’s the common feeling expressed by team representatives during the press conference in Chiba. The tournament opens on Thursday, August 2, with a match between the hosts Japan and Italy

It’s a common feeling: players and managers of the 16 teams competing in the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship 2018 believe Japan is the best place that could have hosted the main world event at this particular time. During the press conference in Chiba, the refrain was very clear: having a chance to compete again in the Olympics is a dream come true.

WBSC Secretary General Beng Choo Low opened the press conference remind the media that “this is not any other World Championship, it’s the first qualifier to the 2020 Olympics.”

Local Organizing Committee (LOC) President Ryichi Katsumata added that he hopes “the World Championship will prove inspitational to the whole world of softball.”

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike sent a telegram to welcome the National Teams and express appreciation to the work of the Japan Softball Association (JSA) and the LOC.

The defending champions USA look like the team to beat.
“You compete better when you are aware of the fact every game starts with a 0-0 score,” comments manager Ken Eriksen “we won’t look at the uniform or the flag of the team we are facing, we will just play to win every game.”
What’s the strength of your team? “If we want to be succesful, we need to play situationally.”

Bejing Olympic gold medalist Eri Yamada (she contributed with a .344 batting average) makes no mistery of Japan’s goal: “We are very confident. We always have done what we were expected to do and I believe we have a chance to win.”
How do you feel about a chance of being in the Olympics again? “Since we are already qualified, we re completely focused on the World Championship, for now.”

Every team seemed happy to be in Japan.
Great Britain’s head coach Rachael Walkeys in particular, since her National Team hasn’t played in Japan before.
Italy’s head coach Enrico Obletter shared his memory of the 1998 World Championship, played in Fuijinomiya City. He was the pitching coach for the late Hall of Fame manager Antonio Micheli and Italy finished sixth.
“The game has changed a lot since then. What hasn’t changed is the ability of Japan to organize great competitions.”

In an excited environment, Botswana provided the most enthusiasm. Head coach Bobby Khupe wants to improve his National Team’s record from the previous experience: “In 2014 we won just one game, so this time we want to win at least two. If we win two, a third will come…”
Team Captain Iponeng Molapong promised that Botswana will “play and dance”.
What do you mean? “I mean that, even if we lose, we won’t feel down. If we start a game singing and dancing, we will finish it singing and dancing. I believe Japan will like us. Japanese people are like us, they love to dance.”

Botswana in Chiba Japan

Bobby Khupe and Iponeng Molapeng of Botswana

The WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship opens in Chiba on Thursday, 2 August. The opening ceremony is at 6.30 pm local time (11.30 am CEST; 5.30 am US Eastern), the first game, Japan-Italy, will start at 8 pm local time.