Support for softball women as sights set on Tokyo

Posted on May 15, 2018 by in NSWIS News

Softball athletes are benefitting from a new project launched by the NSW Institute of Sport, in preparation for the re-inclusion of the sport in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Eleven NSWIS scholarships have been given to athletes from the national women’s softball squad in a collaboration with Softball Australia, NSW Softball and the Australian Institute of Sport.

Aiming to develop physical strength and achieve individual benchmarks, a team of experts are working together to support the athletes as they prepare for qualification.

  • NSW High Performance Coach – Kerrie Porter
    Employed by Softball Australia through collective resourcing and partnership between Softball Australia, NSWIS and Softball NSW
  • Senior Strength & Conditioning Coach – Jason Howell
    In partnership with NSWIS, AIS and Softball Australia
  • Physiotherapy Coordinator/National Lead – Nathanial Harnett
    Employed by Softball Australia through collective resourcing between Softball Australia and NSWIS

The goal is to see the targeted softball athletes from New South Wales meeting international standards for strength testing, velocity of throws and pitches, reaction time, first step quickness, acceleration, change of direction, hand & foot coordination and coordination.

Chief Executive Officer for NSWIS, Kevin Thompson, sees an opportunity to effectively impact women’s softball.

“Having softball back at the Olympics in 2020 means we’re excited to support a number of athletes from New South Wales” said Thompson.

“This project has NSWIS delivering high performance support alongside Softball Australia, NSW Softball and the AIS through coaching, strength & conditioning, physiotherapy, performance support and funding”.

“I’m looking forward to following the progress of our national women’s softball team over the coming months as they seek to qualify for Tokyo”.

Last featured in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, it was confirmed in 2016 that softball would once again be played on the world’s biggest sporting stage.

Australia’s qualification route for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics starts at the 2018 XVI WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship in Chiba, Japan. The first qualification spot will go to the winner of this year’s World Championship, held from August 2-12.

If Japan, which has automatic qualification as the Olympic host, wins that tournament, the runners-up will qualify for Tokyo 2020 without having to participate in regional qualifying tournaments.

The Aussie Spirit, fresh from a season in the National Pro Fastpitch league in the US, will be among the teams well placed to finish in the top two in Chiba and thus qualify for the 2020 Olympics. But if not, there are four more places available that can be earned in regional qualifying tournaments.

The six NSWIS Scholarship Holders based in New South Wales are:

  • Taylah Tsitsikronis
  • Tarni Stepto
  • Stacey McManus
  • Rachel Lack
  • Shannon Keevers
  • Michelle Cox

Five NSWIS athletes outside of the state are also benefitting from the project:

  • Stacey Porter
  • Ellen Roberts
  • Amelia Cudicio
  • Kaia Parnaby
  • Samantha Poole

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