JAPAN is softball and baseball mad.
So it comes as no surprise that the Japanese Olympic Committee is pushing hard for both sports to be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
If it is ratified by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) it will open the door for Rockhampton's Tia Waters to fulfil her dream of representing her country in softball at an Olympic Games.
And it's not too far a stretch for the talented outfielder and part-time pitcher, because Tia has already been selected in the Australian under-19 women's softball team, twice. She has represented her country in the highest junior age group last year and has been selected again this season.
But even more promising is the fact Tia was recently invited to step up and play with the Australian open women's team in the Down Under series in Sydney, playing against Japan, New Zealand and Australia Gold.
The top Australian team won both matches against the Kiwis, won one and lost one against fellow Aussies Gold, but was defeated by Japan in all three matches, including the final where they fell by two runs.
"It's a whole new ball game in the open womens," Tia explained.
"It's just so much faster, much more intense and the players are so much stronger."
The long-time Rocky representative player will bypass the local competition this year and play for Redlands Scorpions in the stronger Brisbane league.
"They are looking to bring softball back as an Olympic sport in Tokyo in four years time," Tia said.
"Absolutely, I would love to represent Australia in softball at the Olympics."
And now it seems, Tia Waters might just get her chance.
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