Canada Cup organizers are aiming to bring the 2019 Americas Olympic qualifier to Surrey, which would mean Team Canada would play on home turf. (Nick Greenizan photo)

Canada Cup organizers are aiming to bring the 2019 Americas Olympic qualifier to Surrey, which would mean Team Canada would play on home turf. (Nick Greenizan photo)

B.C. committee bids for Olympic softball qualifier

Canada Cup organizers want to host 2019 Americas qualifying tournament in Surrey

A tournament that will help determine which teams qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympic softball tournament could be coming to South Surrey next summer.

Earlier this month, on the final day of the Canada Cup tournament at Softball City – won by Canada for the first time since 1996 – event chairman Gregg Timm announced that the tournament’s organizing committee would be bidding for the right to host the 2019 Americas Olympic qualifier.

• SEE ALSO: Canada beats Triple Crown for Canada Cup title

The winner of that tournament would be one of six teams to earn a berth into the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo – the first time the sport has been part of the Games since 2008.

Timm told Peace Arch News he expects to hear sometime this week if Softball Canada has chosen Surrey as its bid city; each country interested in hosting can put forward one city.

“Team Canada and Softball Canada would prefer to have the qualifier at home, in Canada, because in the past, they’ve had issues with food, transportation and even in some cases, security, in some of the South American nations,” Timm said.

“Softball Canada has several options, (several) host committees who have said they’d consider hosting it, and we are one of them.”

The next step, Timm said, is for committee members to contact its community partners and sponsors to see if “there is an appetite to support” the bid.

Of the six teams that will compete in 2020, one has already been decided – Japan is in, as the host country. The second qualifier will be named later this month at the conclusion of the 2018 Women’s World Softball Championships in Chiba, Japan, with the winner earning a spot.

The remaining four spots will be determined at qualifying tournaments next year. One team will come from a European/Africa qualifier, Timm explained, with another coming from an Asia/Oceania tournament that will include teams such as Australia – typically a world softball powerhouse – New Zealand, China and Chinese Taipei, among others.

The final two spots will be given to teams at the Americas qualifier. This region gets two berths, Timm told PAN, because it has the most registered nations competing in the World Baseball Softball Confederation.

Canada is currently ranked No. 3 in the world, behind only Japan in second and the United States at the top. If Canada wins the world championships – which begin Thursday and run until Aug. 12 – they won’t play in the Americas qualifier, but if they don’t win this month “they’ll be there” Timm said.

Other teams that could be at the Americas tournament include the United States – if they don’t win this year’s world championship – Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

In addition to those top contenders, Timm said the field will be filled out with other countries that decide to play, as well as four countries that are required to field teams.

“There’s several countries, as we’ve learned, that must attend every qualifier in every sport in order to get any Olympic money,” Timm said.

“One of these teams, as it was explained to us, is the British Virgin Islands. They must attend the softball qualifier if they want any money for their track-and-field team to go to the Olympics.”

Surrey’s bid for the event is likely to be boosted by the fact that organizers had successfully bid for, and ran, the 2016 Women’s World Softball Championships, which featured a record number of teams and was won by Team USA.

“We’re well known to the WBSC because of the world championships, so they know our ability, they know our park, our community – those are all ticks in the (right) box for us,” Timm explained.

“It’s financials, quite honestly. Can we… afford to do it? Can we get access to money? Do we have partnerships we can draw on? These are the things we’re testing right now.

“It’s a fairly expensive tournament to run – you have to pay for all housing, food and ground transport for all competitors and officials for a 10 to 14-team tournament.”

If Surrey is chosen by Softball Canada – and in turn, then selected over other countries by the WBSC in September – Timm said the likely date for the event would be in late August 2019.

It wouldn’t, he predicted, affect the Canada Cup tournament in July. However, setting a date for the 2019 Canada Cup is still in a holding pattern until the Americas qualifier details are ironed out – whether Canada is selected or not.

“Because of this wild card of the Olympic qualifier, until somebody wins the bid… we can’t properly set the date (for the Canada Cup). Because somebody else in another region – say, the Dominican – could say, ‘We want the qualifying tournament to be right in the middle of July.’ Then teams wouldn’t come here before or after, so these things all matter,” he explained.

Should the event come to Surrey, Timm expected the support to be strong from the local softball community. The 2016 world championships were well-attended, as is the Canada Cup each summer.

“As we’ve learned since the Vancouver 2010 Olympics – Canadians want to clap their hands for the red and white more than anything,” he said.

Though the 2019 qualifier would have a smaller field than did the ‘16 worlds, Timm said it would be an even higher-profile event.

“When you have the Olympic rings flying in your city because it’s an official IOC event, it’s got a certain elevated sense of importance to it,” he said.

“Smaller tournament, higher stakes.”

Canada CupOlympics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

Vaccine rollout is focused on health care workers first, especially those dealing with long-term care facilities. (Nathan Denette - Canadian Press)
General public shouldn’t expect vaccines until fall: Interior Health

Interior Health focused on vaccinating long-term and first-line care workers

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has given first reading to its 2021 budget. (RDOS image)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen budget to rise by 2.8 per cent

Impact of budget increase will not be the same in all communities or electoral areas

Hedley residents are advised to not drink the water until a pump in one of its wells is fixed. Photo Andrea DeMeer
Hedley residents under do-not-consume-water order due to arsenic levels

Residents in Hedley remain under a do-not-consume-water order, due to higher than… Continue reading

Copper Mountain Mine is Princeton’s largest employer, with approximately 460 workers. Spotlight file photo.
Copper Mountain Mine worker tests positive for COVID

Princeton’s largest employer stresses its commitment to safe practices

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Kevin Lee Barrett is charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault. (Facebook)
Court hears of victim’s injuries in West Kelowna attempted murder trial

Two-week-long trial continues for Kevin Barrett, accused of trying to kill mother in West Kelowna

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

A mother hold hands with her daughter while sharing about her struggles with addiction during Overdose Awareness Day. (Jesse Major/Black Press file)
Overdose and suicide support group starts in Penticton

Penticton was one of the province’s communities hardest hit by the overdose crisis in 2020

Jan. 21 marks the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century, according to some. (Black Press Media file photo)
The 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century is upon us

Milestone won’t be back for another 100 years

McBain Insurance in Summerland gave a donation of $816 to Angus Place. The money will go towards a new floor in the bathing room in the seniors care facility. From left are Chris Emmons of McBain Insurance, Stacey Schieman of McBain Insurance and Charmaine Kramer of Parkdale Place Housing Society. (Contributed)
Donation to help with bathing room work at Summerland seniors facility

Earlier contribution will be used to replace aging tub at Angus Place

The steel mills in the Hamilton waterfront harbour are shown in Hamilton, Ont., on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Dyer: Stay the course on Carbon pricing

Kristy Dyer has a background in art and physics and consulted for Silicon Valley

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Most Read