Women’s softball and men’s baseball have returned to the Olympic roster for the2020 Tokyo summer Olympic games.
The decision to include both diamond sports was endorsed at a full meeting of theInternational Olympic Committee (IOC) in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, August 3.
There was plenty of excitement –but should we really be celebrating this sexist divide?
Should we be celebrating the fact that only male baseball players can enter theOlympics?What about the elite women’s baseball athletes?
Should we be celebrating the fact you can only go to the Olympics as a female forsoftball?What about the elite men’s softball athletes?
In 2012 the IOC recommended the two sports join forces and put forward a joint bidfor re-inclusion.
This reinforced the stereotypes across the world that only men playbaseball and only women play softball.
As someone who has played both softball and baseball, I am gravely disappointedfor the elite female baseball athletes I have played with and against.
Women who chose softball instead of baseball have now been given greateropportunity in the sporting world.
What message does that send to the nextgeneration?
The Australian men’s baseball team, the Southern Thunder, are currently ranked13th in the world rankings.
The Australian women’s softball team, the Aussie Spirit, recently came 10th at theWorld Championships held in Canada, despite ranking third before the tournament.
So the argument that these two teams are the best we have to show is not evident.
The Australian women’s baseball team, the Emeralds are currently ranked third, alongwith the Australian Steelers, the Australian men’s softball team.
Maybe we should consider theirachievements too.
On top of this only six teams from either sport will have the opportunity to compete.
Of the 195 countries in the world, only six countrieswill compete per sport.
Don’t startcelebratingyet –we may not even be sending an Australian diamond sports team to Tokyo.
Mikaela Mahony is a journalist at Fairfax Media and a sporting enthusiast.
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