The World Baseball Softball Confederation today launched the first-ever world rankings for softball, across both men’s and women’s disciplines.
The newly implemented world ranking system tracks the performance of a country’s National Team in the Softball World Championships, including junior and top-tier levels, over a three-year period.
The WBSC Softball Competitions Commission carried out the assignment of extensively reviewing, developing and introducing an initial world ranking system. This task force will continue to study the best method for the ongoing expansion of the world rankings to include multi-sport events, regional championships, head-to-heads and other WBSC-recognized international competitions in which WBSC’s 141 Members worldwide participate.
“These new softball world rankings mark another major milestone in the history of our global sport,” said WBSC Softball Division President Dale McMann. “These rankings not only provide a benchmarking tool for nations to construct and evaluate their strategic/development plans, but they also give the players and fans a new and exciting way to express the pride of their country through sport.”
Japan and New Zealand rank No. 1 in the new WBSC Softball World Rankings in women’s and men’s, respectively.
Japan is now the top-ranked country across both women’s softball and men’s baseball — events that could potentially be re-introduced and generate massive nationwide interest and strengthen host nation, as well as worldwide, engagement for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Japan’s top ranking and success on the world stage comes as baseball/softball is the country’s top sport, in terms of youth participation, popularity, fan-attendance, broadcast/media coverage and existing infrastructure.
Asia, the Americas, Europe and Oceania are all represented in the Women’s Top 10, highlighting a universal footprint of the sport.
The Japan National Softball Team programme has secured the No. 1 ranking (1560 pts), elevated by gold medals at both the 2012 and 2014 Women’s Softball World Championship.
Trailing leader Japan by just 60 points is the United States (1500 pts). The U.S. Women’s National Team captured the silver medal at the world championships in 2012 and 2014, while the U.S. is the current Junior Women’s world champion.
Australia (1300 pts), Oceania’s top representative, is the World No. 3. Canada is the World No. 4, with 1280 points, while Chinese Taipei, with 1080 points, is No. 5.
Europe is showcased in the Top 10 by No. 7 Netherlands (880 pts) and No. 9 Italy (760 pts). No. 17 Botswana (180 pts) is Africa’s top-ranked nation on the continent.
Four continental regions are featured in the Men’s Top 10, including Oceania, the Americas (North, Central, and South Americas), Asia, and Europe.
New Zealand, “the Black Sox”, is the World No. 1, with 1340 points after winning the 2013 Men’s Softball World Championship and placing second at the 2014 juniors and 2015 men’s world championships.
Canada (1220 pts) captured the 2015 men’s world title and is ranked No. 2, followed by No. 3 Australia (1140 pts) and No. 4 Venezuela (1080 pts).
World No. 7 Czech Republic (720 pts) and No. 10 Great Britain (460 pts) place Europe firmly within the Top 10. No. 16 South Africa (100 pts) is Africa’s top representative in the world rankings.
The top international softball competitions on the 2016 calendar are the Women’s World Championship in Surrey, Canada and the Junior Men’s World Championship in Midland, USA in July.