Home run king Sadaharu Oh looking forward to "momentous year" of baseball
InsidetheGames -13 December 2019） Japanese baseball legend Sadaharu Oh is looking forward to what is going to be a "momentous year" for baseball and softball in his home country in 2020.
Baseball and softball will both make their return to the Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020, while the 79-year-old Oh's World Children's Baseball Fair foundation will host a girls-only camp at the same time as the Games in August.
Oh, who racked up 868 home runs over 2,831 Nippon Professional Baseball games, is pleased to see how the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) is growing the sport around the world and has immense pride in how the World Children's Baseball Fair foundation is playing its part.
"The chance to host the Olympics in Tokyo and the first clinic dedicated to girls playing baseball will make 2020 a very special year for baseball in Japan," he said.
"Thanks to the World Children's Baseball Fair, boys and girls come to Japan from various places all over the globe. "They start to learn there are different worlds. "Participating in the World Children's Baseball Fair, they also have a chance to make friendships that may last for life."
The Japanese city of Chiba will host 50 female baseball players from 10 different countries - Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, France, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Peru, South Korea and the United States - that will work directly with 30 players from Japan.
The World Children's Baseball Foundation was established in August 1992 by Oh and American star Hank Aaron, who partnered to help introduce baseball to younger generations.
It commenced its activities two years before the formal establishment, with the opening of the World Children's Baseball Fair.
"When you deal with children, you don't really think about the goals and results," Oh said.
"The point is how much fun they have while playing.
"We are also trying to have them understand how healthy they can be playing baseball.
"Sport can teach children that they have to respect rules, to comply with the rules."
Oh said coaches are invited to the World Children's Baseball Fair through the WBSC, adding: "We offer them the opportunity to see how we teach baseball.
"Hopefully, they will then use this knowledge to teach baseball in their countries."