International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Austin Sealy from Barbados threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the opening softball games between Chinese Taipei and Canada, and said, “here in Beijing I hadn’t been able to get to this venue since its completion, but in the lead up to the Games, in the preparative years, I visited the stadium and it looks like a wonderful facility. I would encourage all my colleagues to come out and see because the exclusion of softball from London 2012 is going to be reviewed and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it back with us for 2016”.
Thousands of international fans reportedly packed the Fengtai Field stadium in Beijing Tuesday to see the eight women’s fast pitch teams. International Softball Federation (ISF) Don Porter saw supporters from at least a dozen different nations. He’s in Beijing to promote the BackSoftball campaign to get the sport reinstated in October 2009 onto the Olympic program for 2016, and was delighted with the support.
He said, “I get a lump in my throat when I see such enthusiasm from the fans. Everyone has shown the Olympic spirit, with people from all over the globe coming to watch the Games and participating in the party atmosphere around the grounds. The Olympic spirit is alive and pitching at Fengtai Field”.
The 300,000 tickets for all softball games in Beijing sold out earlier this year. The BackSoftball campaign’s aim is for the sport to return on the 2016 Games program after missing out by one vote for the London 2012 program.