Martial arts movie legend Jackie Chan has added his support to the World Baseball Softball Confederation’s (WBSC) campaign to get the sports back on the Olympic program for the 2020 Games.
“I have noticed that baseball and also softball have been growing globally and attracting boys and girls to come together to play [a sport],” said the 59-year-old Hollywood star, who took part in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay and sang at the Opening Ceremony.
“The two sports teach children teamwork, discipline – about facing challenges and overcoming difficulties.
“Hence, I support baseball and softball’s inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games and I sincerely wish baseball and softball receive the favorable votes from the IOC members.”
It is now less than a month until International Olympic Committee (IOC) members vote on whether baseball-softball, squash or wrestling will be included for the 2020 Games, which will take place in either Tokyo, Madrid or Istanbul – also to be decided at the same session in Buenos Aires.
The WBSC was formed in April of this year following the merger of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and the International Softball Federation (ISF) in a move designed to improve the sports’ chances for re-inclusion.
In a joint statement, WBSC co-Presidents Riccardo Fraccari and Don Porter welcomed Chan’s support.
“It’s a tremendous honor and truly exciting to have Jackie Chan as a supporter of baseball and softball,” they said. “He is an international figure who personifies hard-work, athleticism, determination and supreme talent, which are qualities needed to reach the Olympic Games.”
Chan is originally from Hong Kong, where baseball-softball is one of the most popular sports.
Chairman of the Hong Kong Baseball Association (HKBA) Philip Li hopes that the support of one of its most famous citizens will help get the 2020 campaign over the line in Buenos Aires.
“Mr. Chan’s generosity with his time, his commitment to sport and fitness, and his enormous international appeal will help inspire countless supporters be more active in sport and join WBSC’s efforts to find a place for baseball and softball players on the world’s biggest sporting stage, the Olympic Games,” he said.
Inside the Games is a blog of the London Organizing Committee that helped put on the 2012 Summer Olympics. This article is reprinted here with permission of the authors of the blog.