Softball Delayed at Tokyo Olympics Underway in Fukushima
Posted On July 21, 2021
The Tokyo Olympics began after a year of delay when Japanese pitcher Ukiko Ueno pitched Australia’s Michelle Cox with a ball to open the women’s softball tournament before a nearly empty Fukushima Azuma baseball stadium
Through RONALD BLUM AP Baseball Writer
July 21, 2021, 01:32
• 2 minutes to read
FUKUSHIMA, Japan – The Tokyo Olympics kicked off after a year of delay when Japanese pitcher Ukiko Ueno pitched Australia’s Michelle Cox with a ball at 9:02 a.m. Wednesday (8:02 p.m. EDT Tuesday) to open the softball tournament female before an almost empty Fukushima Azuma baseball stadium.
Playing about 150 miles from Tokyo’s main Olympic venues, the teams lined up for the national anthems at a stadium with a listed capacity of 30,000 that had around 50 spectators, presumably Olympic teams and officials, as well as media.
Australia took a 1-0 lead in the first when Ueno, 39, who pitched a six-hitter to beat the United States in the 2008 gold medal game, forced a run by hitting Chelsea Forkin with a pitch, his second right hitter.
Fans have been excluded from the Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has delayed the Tokyo Games by one year. Many in Japan have questioned whether the Olympics should be held with low levels of immunization in the country.
The first two days of the softball tournament take place approximately 40 miles from the site of the 2011 nuclear power plant disaster. The remainder of the tournament will take place in Yokohama, near Tokyo.
Most of the approximately 11,000 athletes are in the Tokyo area.
Japan defend the gold medalist in softball after upsetting the United States in the 2008 final. Softball and baseball were scrapped for 2012 and 2016 and restored for these Olympics. They have already been abandoned for the 2024 Paris Games and should be restored for 2028 in Los Angeles.
Due to the early morning start, the sun was in the eyes of the left handed hitters.
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