Chelsea Forkin, pictured above left, and Jade Wall, right, have cleared the final hurdle on their long journey to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The duo, with close connections to Redcliffe, have been named in Australia’s final squad of 15 for the softball tournament which starts in just three weeks.
It will be the first Olympics for Forkin, an HPE teacher at Redcliffe State High School and Wall, who played at Redcliffe Softball Association 12 years ago and still registers for its Open Women’s team.
Forkin, Wall and their expanded Aussie Spirit squad were the first athletes to arrive in Japan for the Olympics, when they touched down on June 1.
They will also compete in the first event of the entire Games – on the softball diamond in Fukushima against Japan, the defending champions, on July 21.
Aussie Spirit also face Canada, US, Mexico and Italy in Round Robin matches before the play-offs for bronze and gold medals medals on July 27.
“This is a fantastic day for these 15 players and softball in Australia,” Chef de Mission for the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo Ian Chesterman said today in the official announcement on the Australian Olympic Committee website.
“This is a dream 13 years in the making, to make this Australian Olympic Team as softball makes its Olympic return for the first time since Beijing in 2008.
“Congratulations to all the players, coaches, families, teammates, friends, supporters and everyone at Softball Australia who have helped achieve this incredible Olympic milestone.
“This team has shown enormous grit and drive to not only qualify for the Games but to be as ready as they can be come July.
“Without access to international competition in Australia, the players have been training and competing in Japan under strict protocols to make sure they can be ready to step onto the Olympic arena in Fukushima.
“It has taken an incredible commitment from each and everyone of them.”
Dual Olympic medallist Stacey Porter will captain the team, with the 39-year-old the only team member to have competed at an Olympics.
Australia qualified in the winner-takes-all Asia/Oceania Olympic qualifier in China in September 2019, only allowing only four runs scored against and no defensive errors.
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