May 12, 2014 (ISN) – Antonio Castro has vowed to do all he can to get baseball and softball back on the Olympic programme and hopes to play a key role in persuading the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reinstate the sports for Tokyo 2020 and beyond.
Castro, son of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, made his pledge at the first-ever World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), which ended in this Tunisian seaside resort yesterday.
The WBSC are set to request a meeting with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach after Italian Riccardo Fraccari was elected unopposed as its first President and a new Executive Board was appointed on Saturday (May 10).
The immediate focus of attention for the new leadership is the push to get both sports reconsidered for the Tokyo Olympics ahead of a meeting of the IOC Executive Board in December.
The IOC meeting in Monte Carlo will form part of Bach’s Agenda 2020 and the German has hinted at the possibility of the sports returning for the Games in Japan, where baseball and softball are hugely popular.
Castro, vice-President of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), claims the mass appeal of the sports in Japan might help sway any decision and that they bring “added value” to the Olympic Movement.
Castro, a qualified surgeon and chief medical officer for the Cuban Olympic team at London 2012, was part of the WBSC Commission set up to run the original campaign for Tokyo, which ended in failure when the IOC voted to retain wrestling at its Session in Buenos Aires last September.
Castro was part of the WBSC campaign that lost out to wrestling in Buenos Aires ©AFP/Getty Images
“In Tokyo they already have the facilities and there are great possibilities there,” Castro told insidethegames.
“They love baseball and softball there.
“We have done our hard work in the last few years.
“Not only for Tokyo 2020 but for beyond I think we may have a good chance hopefully.”
“But the most important thing is not only to think about Tokyo 2020 but we also need to focus beyond and be more globalised,” he continued.
“We need to work with boys and work with the girls and see the future.
“We want to go inside the Olympics but not only for 2020 but for our whole life.
“I represent a big movement, the WBSC and I work hard in the campaigns.
“I represent over 100 federations and it is my dream and the dream of millions of people to be in the Olympics
“I am a little piece of [those] millions of people and my dream is the same as theirs.”