PRAGUE, 19th October 2015 - The Czech Softball Association was granted the right to organize the 2019 WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship - the tournament will be held in Prague and Havlíčkův Brod in June 2019. It will mark the first time when this tournament will have been held in Europe. The Czech Republic, a powerhouse of European softball, beat the USA bid in the voting process. “We have been trying to get a World’s Championship tournament to the Czech Republic for a long time. For Czech softball it will be a milestone in the history of successful events that we have organized,” said Gabriel Waage, the President of the Czech Softball Association.
In the past few years, the Czech Republic has organized European Championship tournaments for both genders, it has hosted top European club tournaments, as well as a large number of tournaments for youth players. At the October congress of the World Baseball and Softball Confederation in Oklahoma City, the Czech Softball Association succeeded with its bid to organize the Men’s World Championship in 2019. “In the end, we managed to convince USA Softball that it was high time to bring the World’s to Europe. We would like to show the entire world that we are able to organize top international events, and I am convinced that ours will be a World Championship to remember,” said Waage.
The teams from all over the world will play the tournament, which will be held in Svoboda Park in Prague and in the Hippos Arena in Havlíčkův Brod. Fields in both ballparks meet the highest criteria for hosting international games - they have excellent facilities for teams as well as fans, and they can take up several hundreds of fans. “Two years ago, Svoboda Park hosted the successful European Championship Women, and the Hippos Arena saw the European Championship Men las year. Both tournaments were well liked by both the fans and the teams, as well as by the tournament officials. It was our good references that helped us succeed in the vote,” says Waage.
The Czech Republic is considered one of the powerhouses of European softball - both its men’s and women’s teams regularly win medals at European tournaments. Last year, the men’s squad defended their European title. This year, in Saskatoon, Canada, they made the play-offs for the first time since 2004. They were eliminated by Japan and ended up in the 7th spot of the final standings. The softball community in the heart of Europe could not be more excited. “Playing the World’s on home turf? It doesn’t get any better than that! I never even dared to hope that it would ever happen. It’s pretty great that such an event will be held in the Czech Republic,” said David Mertl, captain of the Czech national team.
About the WBSC Men’s World Championship
The World Championship tournament was first organized by the International Softball Federation in Mexico City in 1966. Since 2013, it has been held every two years. The countries that have hosted the tournament most often are the USA (4 times), New Zealand and Canada (both 3 times). The Czech Republic has been a regular participant since 1992. The best result of the Czech team so far was the 6th place it took in East London, South Africa in 2000. This year, the team managed by Tomáš Kusý to make the play-offs, but the best European team lost the quarterfinal game to Japan and took the 7th spot in the final standings.
-Pavel Hrdina, Jakub Kopřiva-