Japan, USA Boost Baseball/Softball in France -- Federation Focus

(ATR) New ISSF president presses the flesh; IHF World Men's Handball Championships; WDSF World Breaking Championship

(ATR) The baseball and softball leaders of Japan and the United States are joining with their counterpart in France to strengthen the case for the bat and ball sports to feature at Paris 2024.

A memorandum of understanding between the Baseball Federation of Japan (BFJ), the Japan Softball Association (JSA), the French Baseball and Softball Federation (FFBS), USA Baseball and USA Softball was signed at the recent World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Executive Board meeting in Rome.

The popularity of the sport in Japan and the USA means it will be returning to the sports program for the first time since 2008 at Tokyo 2020 and is sure to be included in Los Angeles in 2028. But keeping it in the fold for Paris 2024 could be difficult.

"The global baseball-softball community embraces the values of the Olympics and wishes to promote the spread of them at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, helping to build immense momentum and continuity for the Olympic Movement from Tokyo 2020 to LA 2028 Games, if our sport remains on the Olympic Program," said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari in a statement.

The agreement is designed to promote international collaboration on youth development, coaching and high performance.

"Our membership is up 50 percent over the last 10 years," FFBS President Didier Seminet said, "and we believe that this partnership will boost these figures even more dramatically over the next three Olympic cycles, as we try to realize the dream of our French baseball and softball athletes to play for their home country in the Olympic Games of Paris 2024."

The MoU calls for Japan and the USA to play warm-up and exhibition games with teams from France in the build-up to major international competitions at every age group. French players and coaches will also train with the top two teams in the Olympic disciplines of men's baseball and women's softball.

In addition, coaches from Japan and the USA will go to France to help develop technical skills, physical conditioning and nutrition, and coaching techniques.

New ISSF President Makes Rounds in Lausanne

The new president of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) meets with IOC President Thomas Bach among others in Lausanne.

Vladimir Lisin, elected to succeed the longest-serving world sportsman in his position, the Mexican Olegario Vázquez Raña as ISSF president on November 30, held several meetings to discuss the development of shooting sport within the Olympic Movement.

"The ISSF is in secure hands," said Bach, who talked with Lisin before the meeting of the IOC Marketing Commission.

The Russian also met with Kit McConnell, IOC Sports Director, and David Luckes, IOC Head of Summer Sports & IF Relations, according to the ISSF. Among the topics discussed was the development of shooting sport in Africa ahead of the 2022 Youth Olympic Games in Senegal.

IHF World Men's Handball Championships

The IHF World Men’s Handball Championship runs through Sunday, with France trying to win the title for a fifth time in the last six tournaments.

Denmark and Germany are hosting the event, which has been held every other year since 1995. This is the first time there has been more than one host country. Poland and Sweden will share the duties in 2023.

A unified Korean team was one of the 24 participants in the event. IOC president Thomas Bach was in attendance as the Koreans lost to Germany in the opening game of the tournament. The Koreans finished in 22nd place.

The Olympic Channel is broadcasting the tournament. The semifinals will be held in Hamburg on Friday with the third place game and the final to be played in Herning, Denmark on Sunday.

WDSF Announces World Breaking Championship

The World DanceSport Federation announces that Nanjing, China will host the WDSF World Breaking Championship on June 23.

The championship will serve as one of the qualifier events for the first GAISF World Urban Games, which will be held in Los Angeles in September.

The world championship follows last year’s World Youth Breaking Championship in Tokyo and the discipline's Olympic debut at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October.

Homepage photo: WBSC

Written by Gerard Farek

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