Taiwanese sports official Tom Peng has been elected to the top post in the Baseball Federation of Asia (BFA), baseball’s governing body in Asia.
He is the first Taiwanese president of the BFA since it was established in 1954. Peng replaces Kang Seung-kyoo of South Korea and will serve a four-year term.
The election was announced last weekend at this year’s International Baseball Federation (IBAF) congress in Tokyo.
“Taiwan has been actively involved in Asian baseball for the past six decades. Finally a Taiwanese official can take up the leadership role for the game in Asia. It is also a recognition and honor for Taiwanese baseball on the world stage,” Peng said after his election.
“Team Taiwan did well at the World Baseball Classic tournament and have revitalized people’s passion for the game in Taiwan. This resurgence will have a tremendous impact on the development of Taiwanese baseball in the next 10 years,” he added.
Peng is vice chairman of the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association (CTBA), Taiwan’s national baseball body, and had already served two previous terms as CTBA chairman from 1998 to 2006.
In the campaigning for BFA president last week, Peng was initially challenged by a rival South Korean candidate who later withdrew. Peng was then unanimously elected to the top post by all 17 members of the BFA voting body, who represent the various national governing bodies of the association’s member countries.
Peng also announced that Lin Hua-wei, who was coach of the Taiwan national team for 12 years and a star player in the 1980s, will be the new BFA secretary-general.
According to information from the CTBA, of the current 24 BFA member countries, two-thirds are “still in a nascent state of developing the game.”
As such, one major goal for Peng as president is to help these nations promote the game at grassroots levels, especially Little Leagues and amateur baseball.
One important outcome from the IBAF congress in Tokyo was ratification for the creation of a new global sporting body, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).
This new organization is the result of a merger between the IBAF, world baseball’s governing body, and the International Softball Federation for a global campaign effort to get baseball and softball back in the Olympic Games.
“This is an historic day,” IBAF president and WBSC co-president Riccardo Fraccari said.
“We have brought a new level of worldwide unity and determination to our quest to return to the Olympics. The 65 million currently playing baseball and softball around the world now have a single federation to rally behind,” he said.
At the congress, Peng was also elected as an IBAF vice president, joining Alonso Perez of Mexico and Antonio Castro of Cuba as one of the global body’s three vice presidents.