Burgemeester Olympisch kwalificatietoernooi Softbal

Toespraak burgemeester Jan van Zanen

Utrecht, de Paperclip Leidsche Rijn, 23 juli 2019

Dear all, dear participants, dearest WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari and dear Ruud van Zetten,

What a great honour you bestowed on me. And how wonderful that you have found your way to Utrecht.
In the heart of the Netherlands, the very heart of the Netherlands. It is my pleasure to welcome you here.
Thank you WBSC, thank you volunteers (give them a loud hand of applause) and thank you participants.
 
During the next five days, you have only one goal: to qualify for the Olympic Games. It's great that after 12 years, we can again enjoy softball at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
 
Softball is sport of extremes. A dynamic and fast sport in which speed is combined with great deal of technique. I have been told that a skilled pitcher can throws the ball to the batter at an average speed of 110 km/hour. Although - in a few moments - I suspect that my ball will crawl over the plate ...
 
Again, I consider it an enormous honour to throw the ceremonial first pitch. Also because this tournament again highlights Utrecht as a city where life is good for top athletes and lovers of top sport. The other qualifying tournaments take place in Vancouver and Shanghai. I think that Utrecht fits nicely in this list.
 
I hope you will enjoy the hospitality of this city and region. We - also from the city of Utrecht - have done everything we can to organize this tournament down to the last detail and put it on the map. Many thanks to everyone who has worked on this in some way. And especially to Ruud van Zetten and his colleagues and friends. Thank you for dedicating your time and energy into this tournament.
 
We wish you a lot of fun in the coming days and even more success. Let the Olympic - Softbal Qualifier 2019 in Utrecht - games begin ...