The Indian women's softball team is due to debut at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games ©Getty Images

The Softball Association of India has announced that Indian women’s softball team is due to make its debut at this year's Asian Games in Hangzhou 2022 it secured a wildcard spot.

The team’s entry as a wildcard for the event in Hangzhou was granted by Softball Asia during an Executive Committee meeting on February 23.

"The entry of women's team to the Asian Games, through a wild card, is indeed a milestone for softball in India," Neetal Narang, the President of Softball Association of India, said.

"The Hangzhou Games will be an opportunity to encourage and groom our women players as all major international events include women's category.

"Performing at the Asian Games is our first step and comes with a huge responsibility as we aspire to be a strong team ahead of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

"Softball Association of India is confident that more such exposure will help our players reach greater heights and we look forward to having continued support from the sports ministry, Indian Olympic Association and Sports Authority of India."

Narang also raised her worry regarding how her country treats softball, citing how the Sports Authority of India’s curriculum dropped softball in 2018 because of low participation for the diploma course.

Softball was restored to the Summer Olympics programme for Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
Softball was restored to the Summer Olympics programme for Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images 

"It is a matter of serious concern as there are negligible women's coach for softball in our country," Narang said.

"We would focus on emphasising and grooming our players for the future.

"A total of 11 states enrolled 43 participants of which 15 are females in the recently concluded six week coaching programme."

The Indian Olympic Association has already approved for the Indian team to compete in the 19th edition of the Asian Games which is due to take place between September 10 and 25.

The softball event is scheduled to take place between September 12 and 18.

The Indian side faces a mounting challenge for the title with Olympic gold medallists Japan having a tight grip on the event since 2006.

Japan have won the last five editions, which makes them the most-successful team.

At the Jakarta-Palembang 2018 Asian Games, Japan enjoyed a flawless group stage and capped it off in dominating fashion.

They beat China 5-0 in the semi-final and cruised past Chinese Taipei in the grand final with a 7-0 victory.

Japan are the most-successful softball team at the Asian Games with five golds and three silvers ©Getty Images
Japan are the most-successful softball team at the Asian Games with five golds and three silvers ©Getty Images

China claimed bronze after they narrowly lost 5-4 to Chinese Taipei in the final.

Japan, Chinese Taipei and China have always shared the spoils since softball was introduced to the competition in 1990.

Japan have three silvers to go alongside their five golds, all of which were secured between 1990 and 1998 when they lost to China in the grand final on every occasion.

In addition to China's three golds, they have acquired two silvers.

Chinese Taipei has eight medals in total with four silvers and four bronzes.

The softball format is set to follow an initial group stage preliminary round before entering a playoff phase for the top-four.

Softball was on the Olympic programme between 1996 and 2008 but was removed for London 2012 and Rio 2016.

It returned for Tokyo 2020 but will not feature at Paris 2024.

There is hope from within the community that it will return again for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.