$10m push to get softball back in medals

NewsMail - - SPORT - — Fiona Bullen

Af­ter 10 years in the Olympic wilder­ness, Softball Aus­tralia is ramp­ing up prepa­ra­tions to cat­a­pult the na­tional team back into medal con­tention for Tokyo 2020.

A $10 mil­lion in­jec­tion of funds from the Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Sport will al­low the Aussie Spirit to have a semi-pro­fes­sional, three­month stint in the USA this year.

The team will be based at Mis­souri Western Univer­sity from May to July to com­pete in the Na­tional Pro Fast­pitch League be­fore head­ing to the world cham­pi­onships in Au­gust, which will likely serve as Olympic qual­i­fiers.

“Since 2010 they were only get­ting maybe 20-30 games a year and half of those were here in Aus­tralia at the na­tional cham­pi­onship where the stan­dard has dropped over the last 20 years,” Softball Aus­tralia CEO Chet Gray said.

Aus­tralia won medals in the last four Games the sport was in­cluded. Softball was cut af­ter Beijing in 2008.

PHOTO: SUE OGROCKI

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