WBSC announces Olympic Qualifier dates and hosts

Tue 22 Jan 2019

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has awarded hosting rights and announced the dates for six qualifying events for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Canada, China and the Netherlands will each be host to an Olympic Softball Qualifier,
Chinese Taipei, Italy and the United States will each be home to an Olympic Baseball Qualifier.

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said, "These next two years -- 2019 and 2020 -- will be the most important in the history of international baseball and softball.  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."

Softball Qualifiers

The first Olympic Softball Qualifier this year will be held in Europe, from 23-28 July in Utrecht, Netherlands. 

This eight-team qualifying event, featuring the top six finishers from the European Women’s Championship to be played from 30 June-6 July in the Czech Republic, plus the top two softball teams in Africa, will determine one team to advance to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

To compete in the Europe/Africa Qualifier, the GB Women’s Team will need a top-six finish at the Europeans.  The GB Team has not been lower than fifth in a European Women’s Championship for almost 20 years, but the competition this time will be particularly intense and nothing can be taken for granted.

Meanwhile, the Americas Olympic Softball Qualifier will be hosted by Softball Canada from 25 August-1 September in Vancouver.  This Qualifier will feature up to 16 national teams, with the top two advancing to Tokyo.

The Asia/Oceania Qualifier is scheduled for 24-29 September in Shanghai, and will feature eight teams -- six from the Asian Games and two from Oceania -- and will award the final place for Tokyo 2020.

The USA Women's National Team was the first to qualify for Tokyo 2020 by winning the WBSC Women's Softball World Championship last summer in Chiba, Japan, while the host Japanese have been granted automatic entry into their own Olympic competition.

Baseball Qualifiers

The first Olympic Baseball Qualifier will be played from 18-22 September in Bologna and Parma, Italy, and will feature the top five finishers from the 2019 European Baseball Championship, to be played earlier that month in Germany, plus the top baseball team in Africa.

The winner of this tournament will advance to the baseball competition at the Tokyo Olympics. 

The GB Baseball Team will be hoping to reach the Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier via a top-five finish at the Europeans.  However, even if the GB Team fails to win the Qualifier and advance directly to Tokyo, there will be another chance if they can manage to finish second (see below).

WBSC’s flagship Premier12® competition, scheduled for 2-17 November in Japan, will potentially decide two more places for the Tokyo Games, with the top team from the Asia/Oceania (excluding Japan) and the top finisher from the Americas set to qualify for the six-team Olympic baseball event.

Meanwhile, an eight-nation Americas Qualifier has been confirmed for March 2020 in Arizona, and the winner will earn a place at the Olympic Games.

The final Olympic Baseball Qualifier will be a six-team world tournament for the last remaining place at Tokyo 2020, to be hosted by the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association in Taipei City sometime in Spring 2020.

The competitors will be the second-place finisher from the Africa/Europe Qualifier in Italy, the second and third-place finishers from the Americas Qualifier in Arizona, the top two finishers from the Asian Championship 2019 (not counting nations already qualified for Tokyo 2020) and the winner of the 2019 Oceania Qualifier.

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