With less than 150 days until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games begin, athletes all over the world are preparing to represent their country and perform at the highest level.
Crucial Olympic preparation occurred throughout the week at the U-18 Men’s World Cup in Palmerston North too, as scorers, umpires and technical commissioners selected for the 2020 Games are put through their paces and continue their journey together.
Australian umpire Kyira Cox was amongst them as she prepares to make her Olympic debut come July when softball returns to the Games.
Roberto Perez-Leon will be involved with softball’s technical commission in Tokyo, and has coached, played and administrated all over the world.
“After 50 years in the game, it’s a dream come true to be selected to go to an Olympic Games,” Perez-Leon said.
“We have so much support from the IOC and WBSC, as well as a fantastic team.
“This tournament in Palmerston North has given us a great opportunity to work together in the lead-up to Tokyo. We’ve been working very hard here and will continue that in Tokyo.”
Canadian Bob Stanton will lead the umpiring crew for softball in Tokyo, and knows the importance of this World Cup for his team’s preparation.
“This U-18 World Cup is important, as it’s the first time some of these umpires have worked together,” Stanton said.
“We’ve had a fantastic training program at this event, have begun a solid team building process and it’s been great to build rapport with one another.”