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MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Blu Girls set out for the Women’s Softball World Championship in Chiba, Japan feeling good about their chances against the best in the world in the event serving as qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“The Blu Girls are the strongest national team ever assembled and they have shown it last year by consistently beating the top 10 teams in the world,” said Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines president Jean Henri Lhuillier.
An Olympic berth is at stake in the elite competition that’s one of the 4 international qualifiers sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).
If Japan – which is already seeded in the 2020 Games as host – wins the tournament, the second placer will gain the coveted Olympic spot.
The Blu Girls aim for a solid run in the World Championship slated August 2 to 12 as they also hope to carry that momentum in the 2018 Asian Games a week later.
The team goes for a crack at a podium finish in the Asiad set August 18 to September 2 in Indonesia.
The Blu Girls lineup includes Lorna Adorable, Cheska Altomonte, Mary Ann Antolihao, Dianne Arago, Layca Basa, Arlyn Bautista, Garie Blando, Shaira Damasing, Sky Eleazar, Reese Guevarra, Ezra Jalandoni, Sierra Lange, Mia Macapagal, Nicole Padasas, Celestine Palma, Racel Palumbres, Janet Rusha, Cristy Joy Roa, Chelsea Suitos, Angelie Ursabia, and Arianne Vallestero with coach Randy Dizer.
The 16 participating teams from 5 Olympic continents have been divided into two groups with the Philippines (No. 15) bunched with the top-ranked US in Group A along with No. 5 Chinese Taipei, No. 6 Puerto Rico, No. 7 Mexico, No. 8 the Netherlands, No. 11 New Zealand and No. 35 South Africa.
No. 2 Japan leads Group B composed of No. 3 Canada, No. 4 Australia, No. 9 Italy, No. 12 China, No. 14 Great Britain, No. 17 Venezuela and No. 33 Botswana.
The top 4 teams in each group will advance to the double page playoff round while the rest tangle in the consolation round.
Meanwhile, the next Olympic eliminations – the Asia/Oceania Qualifying Event – is set in 2019 where the top 6 teams from the Asian Softball Championship and the top two squads from the Oceania Softball Championship will vie for a seat in the Tokyo Games. – Rappler.com