Three New Female Leaders added to WBSC Athletes Commission

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- The World Baseball Softball Confederation today confirmed three new members to a four-year term on the WBSC Athletes Commission, with the addition of Canadian Women's National Softball Team member Erika Polidori, French Women's National Softball Team member Pauline Prade and Canadian Women's National Baseball Team member Ashley Stephenson.

Females currently account for four of the six occupied positions (67%) on the WBSC Athletes Commission.

Polidori will also serve on the WBSC Softball Division Board, while Stephenson will serve on the WBSC Baseball Division Board.

"WBSC welcomes and congratulates these new athlete representatives and leaders," said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. "WBSC places a high priority on the inclusion of both athletes and female leaders in the decision-making process of our world governing body, and the current composition of the WBSC Athletes Commission is a strong reflection of this and further prepares our institution for the most exciting time in the history of baseball and softball, ahead of our historic return at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games."

Olympians and WBSC Executive Board members Justin Huber (AUS) and Maria Soto (VEN) currently serve as the Co-Chairs of the WBSC Athletes Commission, and men's softball superstar Nathan Nukunuku (NZL) is also a member of the commission.

"These three new WBSC Athletes Commission members bring in considerable international experience and knowledge," said Co-Chairs Huber and Soto. "They will help ensure the voices and the will of the athletes are heard at the highest levels and that action is taken accordingly, as the sport continues to grow globally with over 65 million athletes in over 140 countries and territories around the world."

"I am looking forward to collaborating with other people around the world who are as passionate about our sport as I am," said Polidori. "This is a great opportunity to advocate for the sport of softball and grow the game."

"It is such an honour for me to be representing the voices of baseball and softball athletes around the world, particularly the ever-growing player base in France and Europe," said Prade. "This is a really exciting time for WBSC and the global development of the game, with our Olympic comeback in Tokyo 2020 on the horizon. And if I can play a part in securing baseball and softball's place at Paris 2024 -- the 100th anniversary of both our French Federation and the last French Olympic Games -- then that would be a dream come true."

"I look forward to working with the WBSC to promote and grow women's baseball," said Stephenson. "To my fellow athletes, I promise to represent you with pride and do everything in my power to be a positive voice and a driving force for our sport!"

Stephenson at the WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup 2018 in Viera, Florida, USA.

All members of the WBSC Athletes Commission must have been a member of his/her country's top team -- the National Team -- and have competed in a WBSC Baseball World Cup or Softball World Championship within the last six years, ensuring baseball and softball athletes around the world are represented by the most elite players in the game.

A future WBSC Athletes Commission member will be elected at the Premier12 2019 -- the biggest international baseball event in 2019, which will feature the Top-12 ranked Men's National Baseball Teams in the world.

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