Taipei, March 23 (CNA) Taiwan was ranked fifth in the world in the first-ever women’s softball rankings issued by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) on Wednesday, one spot ahead of China.
Japan ranked No. 1 in the world in the rankings, followed by the United States, Australia and Canada, according to a statement issued by the Lausanne, Switzerland-based WBSC.
Asia, the Americas, Europe and Oceania are all represented in the women’s Top 10, highlighting the universal footprint of the sport, the WSBC said.
The group also issued a men’s softball rankings with New Zealand at the top, followed by Canada, Australia, Venezuela, Japan, Argentina and the U.S.
Considering that Japan is also the top-ranked country in the WBSC’s men’s baseball rankings, baseball and women’s softball could be reintroduced at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and generate strong nationwide interest, the organization said.
The two events were last played at the Summer Olympics in 2008. They were voted out of the 2012 Olympics because of concerns over the limited geographic reach of the sport, the lack of participation among the world’s best players and drug testing issues.
The organizers of the Tokyo Games have recommended that baseball and softball, along with karate, sports climbing, surfing and skateboarding be added in 2020 under the “Olympic Agenda 2020” program under which host cities can propose additional sports for their games.
The proposal, which would set up six-team tournaments in both baseball and women’s softball, will be reviewed in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016.
The newly implemented world softball ranking system tracks the performance of a country’s national team at softball world championships, including at junior and top-tier levels, over a three-year period, the WBSC said.
(By Lin Hung-han and Evelyn Kao)