Regional Training Center Agreement Signed
The ISF next hopes to formalize the venue from the 2004 Olympic Softball competition in Athens, Greece, as a regional training center for Europe. The world headquarters facility in Plant City, Florida, serves as a North American training center, boasting a 6,700-seat stadium and adjacent fourplex, along with a 1,500-square foot conference facility.
“We are very pleased to establish this complex in Santo Domingo as a regional training center for softball,” Mr. Porter said Friday. “Our sport is extremely active in Latin America and this facility provides our national federations in this part of the world with a resource for further developing their programs. This will benefit not only teams, but coaches and umpires as well.”
In addition to the actual softball playing facilities, the training center has a mini athletes’ village, a large convention hall, and dining & dressing rooms. The site serves as the headquarters of the Dominican Republic Softball Federation too.
Government and other Dominican sports officials were also in attendance Friday, as were Melitón Sanchez, International Olympic Committee (IOC) member from Panama, Roque Napoleón Muñoz Peña (IOC member, Dominican Republic), and Hector Cardona, President of the Central American & Caribbean Sports Confederation and the Puerto Rico National Olympic Committee. Representatives from the ISF in Santo Domingo for the proceedings included Secretary General Andy Loechner and VPs/Latin American Dr. Fernando Jorge Aren (Argentina) & Jesús Suniaga (Venezuela). Puerto Rico Softball Federation President Carlos Lopez, Colombia Softball Federation Secretary General Javier Anaya, and Guatemala Softball Federation Treasurer Federico Contreras were there as well.
The ISF is the world governing body of the sport as recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF). Softball (women's fast pitch) made its Olympic debut at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. There are 128 affiliated countries in the ISF and millions of participants in the sport worldwide.