The Indian women's softball team is set to make its debut at the Asian Games later this year after it received a wild card for the Hangzhou event, Softball Association of India said on Monday.
The Indian team's wildcard entry was approved by Softball Asia during its executive committee meeting on February 23.
"The entry of women's team to the Asian Games, through a wild card, is indeed a milestone for Softball in India. The Hangzhou Games will be an opportunity to encourage and groom our women players as all major international events include women's category.
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"Performing at the Asian Games is our first step and comes with a huge responsibility as we aspire to be a strong team ahead of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics," President of Softball Association of India Neetal Narang said.
"Softball Association of India is confident that more such exposure will help our players reach greater heights and we look forward to having continued support from the sports ministry, Indian Olympic Association and Sports Authority of India," she added.
The Indian team's participation in the 19th Asian Games has already been approved by the Indian Olympic Association of India.
"It is a matter of serious concern as there are negligible women’s coach for softball in our country. We would focus on emphasizing and grooming our players for the future. A total of 11 states enrolled 43 participants of which 15 are females in the recently concluded 6 week coaching programme," she said, adding that softball was dropped from Sports Authority of India's curriculum in 2018 due to low participation of players for the diploma course.
Softball was part of the Tokyo Olympics and will also feature in the 2028 Los Angeles Games.