Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games: Great Britain lose to Italy in softball qualifier

British softball
Britain won bronze at the recent European Championship and continued to show in Olympic qualifying they are among the continent's best teams

Great Britain missed out on a first appearance in Olympic softball after losing to Italy in their final qualifier for Tokyo 2020.

The British women lost 5-0 to their European rivals, who will now be one of six teams at next summer's Games.

Britain had won four straight games at the Europe-Africa qualifying event in Utrecht to give themselves a shot of reaching Japan.

Softball has returned to the Games after missing out in 2012 and 2016.

But, with its future as an Olympic sport unclear after Tokyo, it could be the only chance for members of the British team to play at a Games.

Many of the players were left in tears after losing to Italy, who were guided to victory by evergreen pitcher Greta Cecchetti.

Nevertheless it has been a successful summer for the British team, which is considered as the best women's side produced by the nation after winning the bronze medal at the European Women's Championship earlier this month in the Czech Republic.

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