The World Baseball Softball Confederation has just announced that the 2016 Women’s Baseball World Cup has been awarded to South Korea.
This would become the third World Cup event hosted by South Korea with the other two being the 1982 World Cup, and 2012 18U World Cup.
Women’s baseball in South Korea has grown recently with baseball becoming the most watched sports in the country. 16 clubs have started out with the inauguration Women’s Baseball Association of Korea (WBAK) in 2007. Now, that number has increased to over 40 with five national competitions in the mix. The Association hopes this growth would kick start college programs and possibly an industrial league.
Preparation for the bid began almost two months ago when Gijang-gun (기장군, Gijang County) in Busan Metropolitan City and WBAK agreed to cooperate efforts in hosting the event. In February of this year, Gijang was successful in bringing the long awaited Korea Baseball Hall-of-Fame and Museum along with several baseball facilities, not to mention baseball fields (will be named as the “Field of Dreams”), to its territory. With the Hall-of-Fame also projected to open in 2016, the World Cup would earn the privilege to be one of the first to try out its surrounding facilities. Not to mention, it would undoubtedly provide motivation for the county to speed up its progress.
한국이 ‘제7회 세계여자야구월드컵 유치’에 성공했습니다. 이 대회는 대한야구협회와 한국여자야구연맹, 부산 기장군의 공동 주최로, 한국야구 명예의 전당이 위치한 기장군에서 2016년 8월경에 진행될 예정입니다. pic.twitter.com/E22cFkLsZL
— 국회의원 이병석(전 국회부의장) (@leebyungsuk) August 11, 2014
One interesting report by the Korea media is that Lee Byung-suk (이병석), president of the Korea Baseball Association (KBA), has spoke the possibility of inviting the North Korean National Team to join the competition.
Now, there is very little known about baseball in North Korea, and I did not know a national team for women’s baseball existed. I just assume people played when the entire peninsula was under Japanese rule. People still playing the game there, however, would simply amaze me.
If this is somehow worked out, the event would not only have significance in terms of sports and gender, but also as a platform to learn more about how the game is played by the mysterious neighbors in the north.
- Women’s Baseball Association of Korea
- Hosting Rights of 2016 Baseball World Cups awarded to Japan, Mexico, South Korea, World Baseball Softball Confederation, Aug. 19, 2014.
- 대한야구협회, 2016년 세계 여자 야구 월드컵 유치, ONstn Sports, Aug. 11, 2014.
- 여자 야구 월드컵 유치전, 부산 기장군도 뛰어든다, Sports Dong-A, Jun. 26, 2014.
- 기장군, 2016년 세계 여자 야구 월드컵 대회 유치 추진, Gijang County Office, Jun. 23, 2014.