The 2016 Women’s World Fastpitch Championships have been awarded to Surrey.
The announcement was made Friday at the conclusion of the International Softball Federation’s congress in Cartegena, Colombia.
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and Coun. Tom Gill joined members of the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship committee – headed up by Greg Timm – in Colombia, and the committee made the announcement on Twitter and via a flurry of text messages.
“We got it – I just got a text from Greg. The (ISF) called it ‘an exemplary bid.’ It’s pretty exciting, and I can tell all the guys down there are excited, too,” Chuck Westgard, a member of the bid committee who did not make the trip south, told Black Press.
“It’s the first-ever world championship for Surrey, so it’s big – it’s big for the city and for softball in B.C.”
In Colombia, the bid committee made a handful of presentations to the ISF congress throughout the week, and a final vote among the ISF’s more-than-130 members was held Friday morning.
“Developing our bid was 18 months of work on behalf of the bid committee, and winning today is incredibly exciting,” Timm said in a news release sent Friday afternoon.
“This is the premier tournament in our sport, and bringing it home to Surrey and Canada is an incredibly proud moment.”
The world championships are set to take place in July 2016 and will likely coincide with Surrey’s Fusion Festival, according to the news release.
For one year, the tournament will replace the Canadian Open, which is played each summer in South Surrey and Cloverdale.
The world championships have been held in Canada just twice before – in 1994 in St. John’s, Nfld. and in 2012 in Whitehorse.
Westgard expected the process of organizing such a large event to be a grueling one. He said he and other supporters were able to take a celebratory breather Friday.
“It was a lot of hard work to put this together, and this was only the first part of it. We’ve got three years to go, and it’ll go by fast, but we’ve got Greg and the helm, so it’s lot of work, but we know we’ll be fine,” Westgard told Black Press.