Chongqing – The First Chongqing Holiday Cup – Slow Pitch Softball League Competition kicked off on June 12 in Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality. Five teams competed for victory, and 125 athletes from countries as Japan, South Korea, and Cuba participated in the tournament.
The early morning drizzle couldn’t affect the enthusiasm of baseball fans. Over the course of four weeks, five teams will compete on the soccer field of the QCMC living quarters in the Shapingba District, Chongqing.
Japanese and Chinese players are teamed up in the ‘Assassin team.’ Mitsuo Sato, Vice Consul of the Consulate General of Japan in Chongqing, said, “baseball is very popular in Japan. We hope that more and more people in China will enjoy playing baseball. It will be a good way to promote cultural exchanges between China and Japan.”
“The Japanese consulate general is preparing baseball catching competitions which are expected in August and December this year. Chinese and Japanese players can have direct communication and learn about each other’s culture,” he added.
Baseball has become an important symbol of cultural exchange between Chongqing and Japan in recent years. The trigger was a Japanese man. In 2008, Hidemasa Mori, who went to Chongqing to study abroad, brought baseball to two junior high schools in the city to spread baseball culture.
According to Wu Erliang, vice chairman of the Chongqing City Baseball and Softball Athletic Association, baseball and softball are popular in the city for several years. The number of teams participating in the game has expanded from 6 teams in 2018 to 50 teams now in Chongqing.
“There are now more than ten social clubs in Chongqing, with more than 500 players,” said Wu Erliang. The threshold for baseball and softball is not high, so fans range from students to primary, secondary, university, and enterprise employees. They hope that more social clubs will join, and the association will support the clubs, cultivate baseball and softball coaches, and let more people enjoy this sport.
(Gao Xianyue, as an intern, also contributes to this report.)
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