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Softball at the Summer Olympics

Softball at 2008 Summer Games: Softball has much similarity with baseball. The sport is considered to be the direct successor of baseball. Softball is a team sport in which, a ball is thrown by the pitcher towards the hitting area of a

batter. The batter's aim is to hit the ball with a bat. The bat used in the sport is a smooth round stick. Generally the bat is made from metal or wood. A team accumulates scores at the time of batting. The batter has to run touching a series of three markers set at the corners of a diamond to make scores. The markers are called "bases". At the end of the run, the batter also has to touch the final marker called "home plate". The International Softball Federation or the ISF is authorized to govern the sport at the international level.

Softball in the Summer Games: Softball is contested by only women at the Summer Games. The sport was included in the program at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games. In the Olympic softball competition, eight teams contest for the title. The teams play in a single group with the top for teams moving forward to the semi-finals.

Categories of Softball: There are various categories of softball contested at the international level. Some common categories contested during the softball competition are -

  • Slow softball
  • Fast softball
  • Modified softball

There are two more categories of softball, which are not contested so widely at the international level. The categories are -

  • Arena softball
  • Wheelchair softball

Rules of Softball: The International Softball Federation or the ISF sets rules for softball at the international level. Some of the rules followed during the international softball competitions are -

  • The field, where the game is played, is called a diamond. The shape and size of the diamond are specified by the ISF, in its rulebook.
  • For each softball divisions, the pitching distance on the diamond is determined by the ISF rules.
  • The diamond should be properly marked during the game.
  • The size of base used in the softball event is determined by the ISF.
  • All the equipments used during the softball competition have to be approved by the ISF. The sizes of the equipments are predetermined by the ISF.
  • The distance between two consecutive bases is specified by the ISF rules concerning the game.
  • Any player of the defending team cannot use any illegal method while defending.
  • Umpires are appointed during the game to monitor the play.

Medal winners in Softball: The United States of America, Australia, China and Japan are the leading countries in the field of softball at international level. Jenny Topping, Tanya Harding, Lisa Fernandez, Dot Richardson, Laura Berg, Stacey Nuveman , Leah Amico, Jennie Lynn Finch, Tairia Flowers, Amanda Freed, Jessica Mendoza, Jenny Topping, Naoko Sakamoto are some renowned softball players who will be seen in the 2008 Beijing Summer Games.

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Last updated on: May 23, 2016