Baseball, Softball Play Nice; FINA Awards Two World Champs

(ATR) Federations share hospitality suite ... Russia, Mexico next in line for aquatics championships ... Rio ready for Military World Games ... Atlanta paper cleared of wrongdoing in Richard Jewell suit ...

Baseball and Softball in Tokyo

As a sign of their professed desire to work together, the International Baseball Federation and International Softball Federation share a hospitality suite at the Takanawa Prince Hotel where Japanese Olympic Committee and Olympic Council of Asia meetings are being held this week.

IBAF president Riccardo Fraccari and ISF chief Don Porter are both on hand to answer questions and lobby for their return to the Olympic Program in 2020.

While they have mounted the joint hospitality suite and signaled the intent to be considered as one sport for the Olympics, the IOC still regards both as separate events for the program. This week the Olympic Council of Asia ratified the single-sport status of baseball and softball for the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.

The suite, where nothing stronger than orange juice is served, is lined with posters touting both sports, equipment, softball gold medals and the imposing trophy from the World Baseball Classic.

Softball and baseball are two of eight sports being proposed for two open slots on the 2020 program. A decision is due in 2013.

Kazan, Guadalajara Next for FINA Champs

Russia will sandwich the aquatics world championships in between its 2014 Winter Olympics and 2018 FIFA World Cup.

FINA announced Friday that Kazan will stage its showcase event come 2015, two years after the city hosts the World Summer Universiade.

Meeting in Shanghai ahead of this year’s world champs, the FINA Bureau went ahead and awarded the 2017 edition to Guadalajara as well, a first for the federation.

"All the bids must be congratulated for the hard work and professional involvement in this candidature," FINA president Julio Cesar Maglione said in a statement.

"That is a guarantee that both editions of these Championships will be outstanding, held in excellent facilities and counting with the highest support of the respective national and local authorities."

Hong Kong was the only other city bidding for 2015and 2017.

In the meantime, FINA will dive head-first into its 14th world champs Saturday.

Synchronized swimming and diving fill the opening day of competition at the Shanghai Aquatic Sports Center with water polo kicking off Sunday. No one will actually race until next week. Open-water events begin July 19 and swimming on July 24.

Rio Readies for Military Games

Brazil is standing at attention for the Military World Games beginning this weekend in Rio de Janeiro.

Though the opening ceremony isn’t until Saturday, competition actually kicked off Friday among 12 football teams vying for the World Military Cup title.

A record 20 sports are on the programfor this fifth edition of the International Military Sports Council’s showcase event. Some are also practiced by civilians – athletics, basketball, beach volleyball and so on – while others are specific to the military – orienteering, parachuting and a variety of pentathlons.

More than 4,000 soldiers from 112 countries will take part in Saturday’s ceremony, as will Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff.

Events run through July 24 in Rio.

AJC Cleared in Bombing Case

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution is cleared of wrongdoing in reporting Richard Jewell as a suspect in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing.

"This case is the culmination of years of litigation during which Richard Jewell and, since his death, the executor of Jewell's estate have sought retribution for the injury to Jewell's reputation following his identification in the media as a suspect in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta," Judge Stephen Dillard opined after Wednesday’s decision.

"This Court affirmed the trial court's ruling that Jewell was a limited-purpose public figure in the context of this case."

Jewell's estate is expected to appeal the decision.

Written by Ed Hula and Matthew Grayson.