Buoyed up by the encouraging performance of RP Blu Girls in this year’s World Cup of Softball XIIand Canada CupInternational Softball Championship, Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines (ASAPHIL) president and Philippine sports patron Jean Henri Lhuillier expressed confidence on the team’s chances in the Asian Softball Championships to be held in Taiwan from November 28 to December 4, 2017.
“This tournament will help us gaugethe team’s readiness to qualify in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. We have beaten Asia’s number 3 Chinese Taipei in the recent World Cup so I’m confident we couldfinish in the top 3. The girls are really training hard for this and I’ve always believed that we have what it takes to excel globally in softball,”Lhuillier said.
The RP Blu Girls created a stir in the World Cup and Canada Cup held early this year by twice upsetting world no. 3 Canada in front of the home crowd, stunning world no. 4 Australia, beating 9th ranked Chinese-Taipei, and twice defeating 10th ranked Mexico.
The team, beefed up with Filipinos based abroad, and with improved play by the homegrown players, will be using the Asian Championships as part of their preparations towards the goal of making the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The upcoming Asian Championships serves as a qualifying tournament for the 2018 Asian Games and World Championships.
The RP Blu Girls are targeting to play in three Olympic qualifying tournaments in 2018 and 2019, namelythe World Championships, Asia-Oceania tournament, and the World Open tournament.
Meanwhile, Lhuillier also bared activities being implemented in the grassroots level to makeASAPHIL a world-class softball association.
“We have conducted several coaching seminars, distributed International Softball Federation rule books, and produced softball 101 videos.We will also organizeBatangPinoy tournaments in Visayas and Mindanao by yearend. All thesewill help popularize the sport and discover fresh talents every year. We are eyeing beyond the 2020 Olympics. We want our softball team to be in every Olympics from hereon,” added Lhuillier.