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  • Baseball, Softball Not Guaranteed for Santiago 2023


    (ATR) The World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC) will give "total support" to Santiago 2023 and Chile as the decision approaches on the sports for the next Pan American Games.
    Puerto Rico beat Canada in the gold medal baseball game in Lima (Lima 2019)

    "I cannot leave a space of doubt therefore Chile maintains the willingness [for baseball and softball] to be part of the sports program," Chilean Olympic Committee (COCH) President Miguel Angel Mujica, told Around the Rings on Saturday, shortly before starting his activities in Lima on the penultimate date of the Pan American Games.

    But he admitted that "nothing is decided about those sports" and says a definitive decision will be made in December when the final touches to the program for the XIX Pan American Games are to be determined by Panam Sports.

    These discussions will take place around the inaugural Pan American SportAccord Convention from December 10 to 13 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

    WBSC vice president Willi Kaltschmitt tells ATR that in the first week of the Games in Lima he met with representatives of Santiago 2023 and WBSC expressed “total support” for both the baseball and softball tournaments.

    He also revealed that he and WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari met with the Panam Sports president Neven Ilic to offer “all the help” towards the Chilean organizers and put into practice any necessary changes.

    Peru's baseball team had strong home support. (Lima 2019)
    Numerous countries in the Americas where baseball is one of the main sports supported the Chilean candidacy during the election process. A decision to drop the sport would undoubtedly cause a furor. Men's baseball has been played at every Pan American Games and the tournament is considered one of the premier international events in the sport.

    While baseball and softball are not popular sports in Chile, Kaltschmitt notes "Peru was in the same condition and managed to set up teams that, although they did not win, did not disappoint”.

    Argentina, one of the elite soccer nations of the world, won both the world and Pan American titles in men’s softball within a matter of weeks this year.

    Baseball and softball are returning at the Tokyo Olympics next summer after being absent in London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016. Paris 2024 elected to skip them but they are widely expected to reappear for Los Angeles 2028.

    Written by Miguel Hernandez

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