OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Exactly five months from today, 16 countries will begin competing in the International Softball Federation’s (ISF) XI Women’s World Championship including Team USA, the defending World Champions, announced the Amateur Softball Association. The new softball stadium being built in Beijing, China, for the 2008 Olympic Games will also be the site for this summer’s marquee tournament. The ISF event will not only be the first competition in that venue, but will also serve as the sport’s Olympic Test Event as preparations move toward the Summer Games that are 865 days away.
In addition to the opportunity to be crowned world champion, the ability to secure a berth in the ’08 Games will be on the line at the August 27-September 5 event. The top four finishers at the world championship will qualify for the Olympic Softball competition that will take place almost exactly two years later (August 2008). (A total of eight teams will compete in the Olympic Softball competition, with additional qualifying events likely to take place in 2007.)
The ISF has announced the seedings for the XI Women’s World Championship, which have been set in accordance with the ISF Technical Code and are as follows:
Pool A: USA, China, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, DPR Korea, Great Britain
Pool B: Australia, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Greece, Venezuela, Netherlands, Botswana, Colombia
“We are very excited to go back to the World Championships and defend our title,” said USA head coach Mike Candrea. “It will be an exciting summer for our team as we will compete in the II World Cup in Oklahoma City and then on to Beijing for the World Championships.”
The ISF Women’s World Championship is held every four years. The 2002 World Championships took place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Canada), where the USA won the gold medal by edging Japan, 1-0, with Chinese Taipei winning the bronze medal.
The ISF is the world governing body of the sport as recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF). Softball (women's fast pitch) made its Olympic debut at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. There are 127 affiliated countries in the ISF and millions of participants in the sport worldwide.