Softball: Canada, Mexico qualify for Tokyo 2020
SURREY, British Columbia, Canada -- 1 September 2019 -- The softball national teams of Mexico and Canada earned a place in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, sealing the top two spots of the WBSC Softball Americas Qualification Event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
It will be the first time Mexico will participate in an Olympic softball event, the pinnacle of the sport, while Canada has participated in the first four editions and will compete in Tokyo for a fifth time.
"Congratulations to the athletes, the National Federations, and the National Olympic Committees of Mexico and Canada for qualifying to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020," said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. "I want also to express my appreciation to the Local Organizing Committee for an excellent job organizing this Olympic Qualifier in a fantastic city and venue."
The qualifier in Surrey included the top softball nations across the Americas, including the Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
Mexico and Canada join host nation Japan, the 2018 WBSC Softball World Champions USA and the winner of the Europe/Africa Qualifier Italy as the first five nations qualified for the six-team Tokyo 2020 Olympic softball competition.
The remaining nation will be determined at the next WBSC Softball qualifier - an eight-team WBSC Softball Asia/Oceania Qualifier which will take place in Shanghai, China from 24-28 September.
Softball will have the honour of opening next year's Olympic Games on 22 July with special starting games at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium.
The top four nations of the WBSC Softball Americas Qualifier, Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico and Brazil, also became the first nations to advance to the WBSC Women's Softball World Cup 2021.
Kaleigh Rafter, Canadian catcher, said: "It's been a long journey, a growing journey, I'm just excited for the teammates. I love this country, I love softball, I love playing for this team... It's been a part of me since I first tried-out at 19 years old. It's everything, it's kind of who I am now".
Dallas Escobedo, Mexican pitcher, said: "I just tried to stay calm, enjoy the moment, enjoy the crowd and being myself. It's just exciting being here and living this moment".
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