(ATR) The World Baseball Softball Confederation tells Around the Rings
the baseball and softball schedule at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is still an "open issue” despite a decision by organizers.
Baseball was added to the Tokyo 2020 program in part due to its popularity in Japan. (WBSC)
On Oct. 5, Tokyo 2020 chief executive officer Toshiro Muto detailed the organizers’ plans for the Olympic baseball and softball tournaments. According to Kyodo News, Tokyo 2020 opted for the first round to consist of two groups of three teams before the final medal round.
The decision is reportedly final and was the product of collaboration with the International Olympic Committee at its most recent Tokyo 2020 Project Review last week.
However, a WBSC spokesperson says the federation is not yet fully accepting this proposal in an effort to get more baseball and softball games on the Olympic program.
“WBSC considers the Olympic baseball format as an open issue and will continue to explore options/solutions with the Tokyo 2020 organizers and the International Olympic Committee.”
Baseball and softball are one of five sports added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic program following the IOC’s initiative to allow organizers to add sports that can enhance local and youth appeal for the Games. Baseball and softball are the only of the five that have appeared on the program before, with the last Olympic tournaments taking place at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
In Beijing 2008, baseball was also played in two rounds, consisting of eight teams instead of six. The first round was a round-robin option where each team played one another. The top four teams then advanced to the medal round.
It is believed the round robin format would once again be preferred by the WBSC to allow more baseball exposure during the Games.
The reduction in teams from 2008 and the format change will likely be a major topic of discussion at the upcoming WBSC Congress in Gaborone, Botswana from Oct. 11-13. The WBSC is expected to receive the Tokyo 2020 and IOC decision in writing ahead of the congress.
Written by Kevin Nutley
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