ISF President Meets With Greek Sports Minister, Promises Assistance

International Softball Federation (ISF) President Don Porter returned to the world governing body’s headquarters facility in Plant City, Florida (USA), yesterday, after having met this week in Athens, Greece, on the state of the venue that was used last August for the Olympic Softball competition.  In the city considered the birthplace of the Olympic Games, Mr. Porter spoke with Greek Sports Minister George Orfanos regarding retaining the Olympic Softball Stadium at the Helleniko complex, which would allow the Hellenic Amateur Softball Federation (HASF) to organize and host future major softball events, including this year’s European Championship.

The ISF would provide support for maintaining the facility and help in bringing major international softball events there, such as world cups and European championships.

The discussions also included the use of the venue for a European Regional Softball Training Center and new offices for the HASF.  That organization’s President, Theodore Kollias, and Secretary General, Chrysanthi Skiadas, were also part of the discussions, along with ISF Secretary General Andy Loechner and Director of Development Cindy Bristow.

“I’m very pleased with the way the meeting went,” Mr. Porter said upon his return.  “I said it in August during the Games and I still feel that the softball venue in Athens is definitely a world class facility.  With cooperative efforts between us (ISF), the Hellenic Amateur Softball Federation, and the European Softball Federation, the softball stadium in Greece can certainly thrive in the same way that the 2000 and 1996 Olympic Softball venues still do today.”

Blacktown Olympic Park in Sydney, Australia, which hosted the softball competition at the 2000 Summer Olympics, hosted 120 softball events in 2003, plus 469 training days/minor events, which included elite & club training, and schools & community competitions.  (NOTE: 469 is possible in one year because some of those were two different activities in one day.).  When softball debuted as an Olympic sport at the Games in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia (USA), an already-existing venue in nearby Columbus, Georgia, was used.  That facility was used for softball 128 dates in 2004.

Greek government and sport officials are expected to make a decision on the future of all of the venues used during the 2004 Athens Olympics, including softball’s, next month.

For more information, please contact ISF Director of Communications Bruce Wawrzyniak at brucew@internationalsoftball.com, +1-813-864-0100, ext. 229, or +1-813-453-8762 (cell).