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Olympic success provides springboard for softball's development
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16:25, August 22, 2008

The International Softball Federation (ISF) has launched a new event to further promote the global development of softball following the climax of the Olympic competitions here on Friday.

The namely 2009 Youth World Cup will be a girls' 16-and-under fast pitch competition and will be held in the second week of August next year, with a number of major European capital cities currently been listed as the candidate hosts.

"This is another fantastic development for our sport and underlines its growing popularity. Softball is incredibly popular among young people," said ISF president Don Porter.

"We are increasing the number of softball federations all the time but we're not going to be resting on our laurels and hopefully this event will help us further widen the sport's appeal," he added.

Softball, which made a debut show at Atlanta Olympics in 1996, was voted out of the 2012 London Games.

ISF then launched the "Backsoftball Compaign", aiming to get the sport reinstated in next year's vote onto the Olympic program for 2016.

Porter, who has been promoting the compaign during his visit in Beijing, hails the Beijing Olympic softball tournament as "hugely successful" and also has been able to have a discussion with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge about its success.

"The sellout crowds has exceeded 180,000 in todal. The competitiveness also has improved a lot. Besides, more than 100 countries' medias has covered the event. These are all good signals to prove our sport is a global one. We have showed these success to the IOC president and some other members," said Porter.

On Thursday night, Japan stunned favorites the United States 3-1 in the grand final, ending the Americans' run of three successive Olympic gold medals. Though Porter was American, he regarded Japan's victory as a proof to the sport's global strength.

"Few would have predicted that Japan would be picking up the gold medal but it came true here. I'd like to commiserate with the losers but I'm sure this will provide further encouragement to other nations who are enjoying and playing our increasingly competitive sport," said Porter.

Source:Xinhua

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