The Japanese Olympic gold medal-winning baseball team won the award for the best men’s team of the Tokyo Games at an awards ceremony that was part of the ANOC General Assembly held Sunday on the Greek island of Crete.
Samurai Japan beat the United States for gold in games delayed by the pandemic this summer, the country’s first Olympic gold medal in baseball since the sport was officially included in the Barcelona Games program in 1992.
“We will be dedicated to promoting the sport so that baseball, as well as softball, is re-added to the Olympic program. Thank you very much for this (award),” said Hayato Sakamoto, Yomiuri Giants infielder, on behalf of of the team in a video message delivered to the Association of National Olympic Committees.
Infielder Hayato Sakamoto speaks on behalf of the Olympic gold medalist Japanese baseball team in a video message delivered to the Association of National Olympic Committees, as shown in this screenshot from the YouTube channel from the Association. (Kyodo)
Japan, led by manager Atsunori Inaba, have won all five of their home Olympics games, including the August 7 final.
Many new sports debuted at Tokyo 2020. Skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing and karate were first contested, while softball and baseball returned to the game after being part of the program. in 2008.
With the Tokyo Olympics being delayed for a year by the pandemic, the next Summer Games are now less than three years away.
Karate, baseball and softball will be removed from the Paris Games, while youth-centric sports like surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing will remain. Breaking, a street style dance discipline, will be added for the event in the French capital.
Marathon gold medalist Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya won the award for best male athlete after defending his title at the Tokyo Olympics, and Maggie Mac Neil, who won three medals in swimming, including the first medal in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Canada’s Gold in Tokyo, was named Best Female Athlete.
Other awards include the outstanding Tokyo 2020 NOC, awarded to the Japanese Olympic Committee.