I’ve now been in the role of CEO of Softball Australia for over a year and a half and I’m pleased to see the direction our sport is moving in both on and off the diamond.
First of all, I’d like to again congratulate our Travelodge Aussie Spirit team who qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with a commanding performance. We are so proud to have this group of women represent us on the world’s biggest sporting stage in July.
As a sport with a proud and successful Olympic history it’s great to see us back front and centre and a threat for a Gold medal. Congratulations must also go to our Head of Pathways and Travelodge Aussie Spirit Head Coach Laing Harrow who has worked tirelessly with his team to bring us to this point, we are delighted he has decided to extend his term with the women’s team to Tokyo 2020 and beyond.
As well as the Qualifier, we also sent two teams to WBSC World Championships in 2019 with our Aussie Steelers finishing seventh in Prague and our Junior Spirit so close to winning a medal when they finished fourth in California. Well done and thank you to both groups for representing your country with pride.
Outside of Tokyo, in 2020 we’ll also see our next generation of Travelodge Aussie Spirit and Aussie Steelers stars compete in the respective U18 World Cups. I wish all the best to newly appointed Head Coaches Adam Rindfleish and Chantelle James and their teams on the world stage.
This year also saw Aussie Diamonds Development Tours to New Zealand and the United States where we exposed a talented group of softballers to what life could be like at the elite level. We look forward to more exciting Tours again next year, as it plays an important part in identifying our future stars.
Still on the diamond and we began our 2019 with National Championships followed by the AP Cup and inaugural Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball competition. I’m sure you’ll agree the new format was fantastic to watch live in primetime on FOX SPORTS Australia and Kayo.
I’m pleased to confirm the Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball will again be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS Australia, along with the final day of the AP Cup which in 2020 will feature four of the six Olympic nations.
It’s been fantastic to see Clubs and Associations around the country adopting Fully Loaded Softball following the Summer Slam and incorporating it into their existing calendars. We’ll also see our U14 Boys’ and Girls’ Regional Championships adopting the shorter format for part of their competition week during the Summer of Softball.
Thanks to our great results and exciting initiatives on the diamond, we’ve been able to secure commercial partnerships with a number of strong reputable brands partnering with our Sport which in turn will see it continue to grow.
Along with continuing our marquee partners in Eastcoast Car Rentals and Travelodge Hotels, we welcomed National Storage, Click Energy, First Ever and PTP in 2019.
We also joined Crocmedia’s extensive stable of sports which has already given us a boost in the busy Australian sporting landscape. We’re excited to work with Crocmedia in delivering our live stream of the Men’s and Women’s National Championships as well as production of our AP Cup and Summer Slam broadcasts.
We look forward to sharing the benefits of these commercial partners directly to you and the grassroots of softball. You can visit our member benefits page to access the latest promotions.
We have a huge year ahead of us and I’d like to thank our member states, their Associations and Clubs for your commitment to the games.
I would also like to thank the very hard working staff at Softball Australia and to the National Board for their continued support and zest to grow the Sport in Australia.
We look forward to taking advantage of this opportunity with our game up in lights in 2020 to grow softball across the country.
I wish you a safe and happy holiday break and all the best for the New Year.