After five years of waiting, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games got underway on Wednesday with Australia taking on hosts Japan in the women’s softball competition.
With softball making its first return to the Olympic stage since Beijing 2008, it was NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) athlete Michelle Cox who notched the first run of the Games.
It was a fierce first innings with the Aussie Spirit enjoying loaded bases at one point, however, the innings would end tied at 1-1. After strike-outs in the second innings, Japan began to show their might with home runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. It soon became too big of a bridge to close and the game ended 8-1.
Speaking after the match, Spirit Captain and NSWIS scholarship holder Stacey Porter insisted the team would keep their heads held high.
“We’re not called the Spirit for no reason,” she told Seven.
“First game is generally the hardest, so we just have to take a deep breath and just remember our abilities. If we could get back on track we’ll be a different team tomorrow.”
The Aussie Spirit will look to bounce back immediately in Thursday afternoon’s match against Italy (16:00 AEST).
It was brighter news for Australia’s Women’s Football Team, with the ‘Matildas’ kicking off their campaign with a 2-1 victory over New Zealand.
The Matildas squad featured a number of athletes who emerged through the NSWIS-supported Future Matildas program, including Kyra Cooney-Cross, as well as traveling reserves Charlotte Grant and Courtney Nevin.