The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has named Fukushima as a host city for an event next year in a move that is designed to help raise awareness and support the local region's continuing recovery following the disaster that struck in 2011.
The WBSC has said its 2016 U-15 Baseball World Cup will be staged in the Japanese city from July 29 to August 7. The event will be taken to Fukushima, in collaboration with the Baseball Federation of Japan and city authorities, following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the local area three years ago.
WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari (pictured) said: “WBSC and all of our partners are fully committed to playing whatever role we can to bring the benefits and universal values of sport to help shape a better society and symbolise a brighter future. If our sport is able in any way to help recognise the ongoing recovery and lift community morale, it will be a great duty and honour, as well as an important cultural experience for our young athletes.”
The WBSC has also detailed hosting plans for two other events in 2016. The Women's Baseball World Cup will take place from September 3-11 in Gijang City, South Korea and will be expanded from eight competing national teams to 12. The expansion of the Women's Baseball World Cup comes after the historic introduction of women's baseball on a multi-sport platform at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada.
“This is an unprecedented time for the growth and globalisation of our sport, and WBSC takes very seriously its role to expand opportunities for our women athletes who want to shine and showcase their skills at the world level,” Fraccari added.
Meanwhile, dates for the U-21 Baseball World Cup – which will be staged in Sinaloa, Mexico – have been revealed as June 17-26. The U-21 Baseball World Cup backdrop will be the new 20,000-seat stadium of the Mexican Pacific League's Culiacan Tomateros professional baseball club.