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Softball factbox for Athens 2004

Posted: Sunday July 11, 2004 9:33PM; Updated: Sunday July 11, 2004 9:33PM
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ATHENS, July 12 (Reuters) -- Factbox on softball at the August 13-29 Athens Olympics:

HISTORY

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Softball was invented by American George Hancock in 1887 as an indoor game. In 1895, the first women's team was formed in Chicago. At the same time the sport was taken outdoors and called "kitten ball." The rules were standardised in 1926 and the name changed to softball. The first world championship was held in 1965 and the game is now played by more than 20 million people around the world.

The International Softball Federation (ISF) was established in 1962 and has 122 member countries.

Softball was first included in the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 and continues to be a women-only sport at the Games.

EVENTS

Women's fast-pitch competition

2000 CHAMPIONS

United States

OLYMPIC PROGRAMME

August 14-20: Preliminaries

August 22: Semi-finals

Bronze-medal game

August 23: Final

VENUE

Olympic softball stadium at the Hellenikon Olympic Complex

in the west of Athens, on the site of the city's old airport. The stadium seats 4,606 spectators.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

www.internationalsoftball.com

Copyright 2004 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


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