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World Governing Body's Development Program Welcomes Aid to Keep up with Demand

PLANT CITY, FLORIDA (USA) -- A milestone is being reached in the International Softball Federation's development program that provides equipment for playing the sport around the world. Approximately 60 "starter kits" are packed for shipment from the world headquarters complex here (see accompanying photo). Once they go out, the ISF will have reached the USD$3 million plateau in terms of the value of softball equipment sent out since the program began in 2002.

The ISF is also very near to another significant level in that one of these upcoming recipients (San Marino) is a first-timer, bringing the total number of countries that will have received equipment to 98 over the aforementioned period of time.

"We have been very fortunate over the better part of the last decade to have been able to provide so much equipment to nearly 100 countries around the world," said ISF President Don Porter. "A tremendous thank you is due to the many manufacturers that have helped make this possible."

Among those who currently provide the ISF with new equipment are Combat Softball, DeMarini, Easton, Hillerich & Bradsby (Louisville Slugger), Miken, Mizuno, Rawlings, and Worth.

"Along the way we also had a number of colleges/universities and club teams that helped out with donations of used equipment," the ISF president added. "As a result of this continued demand, we would very much welcome them coming back onboard so that boys, girls, men, and women in other countries can have the same opportunity to participate in our sport."

Besides San Marino, five other countries will be recipients of what is currently packed at the ISF warehouse.  That quintet includes Austria, Botswana, Papua New Guinea, Peru, and Slovenia.  Still others are pending as well, which furthers Mr. Porter's point about a need to meet the demand.

One "starter kit" contains over USD$1,200 worth of softball equipment, including: bats, balls, fielder's gloves, batting helmets, catching gear, an equipment bag, and instructional videos.

Schools or softball programs - or even individuals - interested in donating equipment can contact ISF Development Coordinator Lori Nolan for more information at lnolan@ISFsoftball.org.

The ISF is the world governing body of the sport as recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and SportAccord (formerly the General Association of International Sports Federations). Softball (women's fast pitch) made its Olympic debut at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. There are 128 affiliated countries in the ISF and millions of participants in the sport worldwide.

MEDIA: For more information, please contact ISF Director of Communications Bruce Wawrzyniak at brucew@ISFsoftball.org, +1-813-864-0100, or +1-813-453-8762.

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