Olympic qualifier has SA softballers at fever pitch

Star SA athletes Belinda White and Maddie Cameron are hoping to win final selection on the Australian softball team which will head to China in September for an Olympic qualifier. The duo is in a 20-person squad where a team of 15 will be chosen to tour

Belinda and Maddie standing together in softball uniforms

THERE will be no room for error for the Australian softball team when it  heads to China in September for an Olympic qualifier - SASI athletes Maddie  Cameron and Belinda White hoping to be a part of the action.

The duo are in a squad of 20 athletes with the final team of 15 to be chosen soon to compete at the WBSC Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualifier in Shanghai, China, between September 24 and 28.

But it will be no holiday with a winner-take-all set up in the eight-nation competition.

Chinese Taipei and China will be the main rivals the Aussies must overcome to realise the dream of making the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The winner in China will join a six-team compeition in Tokyo.

Cameron and White recently returned from the US after a stint in the National Pro Fastpitch League as part of the Aussie Peppers team.

With a tight, elite competition, and 46 games to contend with it was a strong test for the duo.

The only South Aussies in the national squad say the matches were the perfect preparation for next month’s qualifier.

“It was a great experience and very much a cultural difference for me for the 10 weeks,’’ Cameron, 25 said.

“The Americans were very welcoming and the trip was a real learning curve. But the Olympic qualifier coming up is definitely the biggest event I hopefully will have been involved in.’’

White, 31, also is ready for the challenge of her sporting life, if selected.

“In any sport the Olympics are the greatest,’’ White said.

“The nerves and pressure will be there and knowing that as a team we have to win it to make it to the Olympics will always be there.

“I feel like I am in a good space. I enjoyed the Fast Pitch series and felt I grew as a leader and I was very happy with my game.

"I have been playing with this core group for about eight or nine years. With no softball at the 2024 Olympics (France) I don’t think I will be still playing after that in 2028 (Los Angeles). But the younger ones will still have a chance.’’

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