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It was an overwhelming success at the WBSC-Softball Asia Baseball5 Coaching Seminar held over two days (8th and 9th July), at Botanic Resort Club, Bukit Tinggi and SK Puala Indah in Klang, Malaysia.

The 63 participants comprised teachers, coaches from the State associations and clubs and from overseas – Pakistan, Vietnam and Singapore.

They were all excited and enthusiastic over the new game and at the end of the course conducted by instructors Ran Liu (China), Ayako Rokkaku (Japan) and Itsarapong Oyaree (Thailand), the participants returned with a promise to make the game popular in the respective regions.

Baseball5 or B5, certainly caught the attention of the participants as an urban version of the classic game of Baseball/Softball. The fast, young and dynamic discipline which follows the same founding principles of baseball/softball was easy for the participants to grasp.

That Baseball5 can be played everywhere and only required only a rubber ball to be played made it very viable to be introduced easily.

And playing on a much smaller area, less players (5), shorter period (10 to 15 minutes and 5 innings), no equipment expect a rubber ball required, can be played on hard court or field and mixed gender game, were all plus points which the participants total agreed on.

Softball Asia president and who is also the secretary general of the World Baseball Softball Confederation(WBSC), Datuk Low Beng Choo, who was present on both days of the seminar said: “The game maybe new, but has caught on like wild fire in other parts of the world. There is already plans to organise an Asian Baseball5 championship to qualify for the World Cup Baseball5.

“Thailand is already interested in playing host for the Asian championship early next year,” said Low.

“This sport is really in line with the IOC’s vision of being young and urban and we are also working to get baseball5 in as showcase sport for the Tokyo Olympics.

“We are also really hoping that we could get baseball5 in for the next Youth Olympics that will be held in Dakar, Senegal in 2022.

“Thus, we have to introduce Baseball5 fast at all levels here, especially at the schools, colleges and universities to popularise the game fast.

“Every major sport is now looking at ways to develop and popularise their game fast. For that to happen, the game was must be easy to play, exciting, fast, cost effective, availability of playing grounds and relevant to the modern times.

“Many have reduced the number of players in the game and bringing it to exciting new grounds like beach, open air, indoor courts, hard courts and streets. In a way, the Baseball5 is like a street version for us.

“I see no problems because it is an exciting game which can be played everywhere with just a ball, bases, a small area and just five players on a team.”

Low also explained that Baseball5 is promoted by WBSC through the Softball division.

“Although many maybe mistaken that it is a baseball game because of the name, the acronym for the game is B5 and the name is coined through – Base (the bases used in the game), ball (one ball used) and 5 (five players).”

President of Softball Association of Malaysia, See Kok Wooi, said that it will definitely catch on with the schools and plans are already being made to include the game in the school’s sports calendar.

“Immediate on our agenda is to organise a national Baseball5 championship and we urge all our affiliates to familiarise themselves with the game fast and form their state team so. For starters, the states can organise their state championship,” added See.

SK Pulau Indah headmaster, Hazi Kadir, a former Selangor Schools softball coach, who had played a key role in the seminar, but offering his school facilities, said that he will be proposing to the Ministry of Education and Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) to include Baseball5 in the schools’ sports curriculum.

“Baseball5 is an exciting game which will appeal to schoolchildren and can be played everywhere with minimum space, cost and equipment.

“Besides Baseball5 will serve as a good development programme for softball and popularise the game,” said Hazi who is passionate of the game.

All participants underwent a Test at the end of the seminar and were given certificates of participation.

The seminar was organised by Softball Asia, in collaboration with the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) and the Softball Association of Malaysia (SAM).