Aussie Spirit begin quest to represent Australia at Tokyo 2020
27 July 2018
SOFTBALL: Australia’s female softball team, Aussie Spirit, are preparing to kick off their campaign to join Australia’s top Olympic athletes at Tokyo 2020 in just under two years’ time.
Softball has a unique place in Australian sporting history, with the Aussie Spirit team having won a medal in every Olympics in which softball has been contested (Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008).
Tokyo 2020 will be the first time since 2008 that softball has been contested at an Olympic Games, reviving the hopes and dreams of many players who grew up hoping to represent their country at an Olympic Games.
The team are currently in Japan to contest the XVI Women’s Softball World Championship, held in Chiba, from August 2-12, with the competition being the opening qualifying tournament for Tokyo 2020. The competition will see only six teams compete for the gold medal, with the winner of the XVI Women’s Softball World Championship receiving automatic qualification to Tokyo 2020.
“The World Championships are a massive opportunity for the Aussie Spirit to achieve automatic qualification to the Tokyo Olympics and join the nations best athletes representing Australia in two years time,” Softball Australia CEO David Pryles said.
As the Aussie Spirit prepare for this enormous challenge, Softball Australia acknowledged the 33 athletes who have represented Australia in softball at previous Olympics.
The list includes Stacey Porter, current captain of the Aussie Spirit, and Justine Smethurst, who are the only two members of the current Australian team to have previously played in an Olympic Games.
Softball Australia CEO David Pryles says the time is right to recognise the achievements of past Australian softball teams at Olympic and World Championship level.
“I am extremely proud of our Olympic heritage, having medalled at every Games we have participated in,” Pryles said.
“Softball was part of the Olympics four times from 1996 to 2008 — and Australia stood on the medal dais each time.
“With the Softball World Championship starting next week, now is the perfect time to pay tribute to the athletes who have represented Australia at Olympics and/or World Championships with such distinction.”