The Mongolian Ponyball Federation to develop children’s baseballThe Mongol Messenger
The Mongolian Ponyball Federation has received its membership certificate from the PONY Asia Pacific Zone on May 16. We did an interview with the CEO of the Mongolian Ponyball Federation P.Khaliun. The federation has set its goal as to develop the sport of baseball for children and youth.
-When was baseball introduced in Mongolia?
-It has been over 20 years since the Mongolian Baseball Federation was established in the mid 90s. At the time, doctor R.Baigali made the main contribution to creating a children’s baseball team as well as having them train and promoting it to schools. It was after that when quite a few children began to play baseball.
-Baseball is a sport that has a rather high cost. Were there often troubles?
-Baseball is a difficult sport. It requires a special uniform. It also requires various other items as well, such as a ball, bat, mask and protective gear. However, we used to receive support from Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan by establishing connections. Various works have also been done, such as becoming a member of the Baseball Federation of Asia and the World Baseball Softball Confederation. In particular, the Baseball Federation of Japan and the Japanese people gave us a lot of support. Wanting to build a baseball field for the children and youth in Mongolia, they raised funds and built the baseball field next to the National Sports Stadium in 1998. After the year of 2000, various people have led the federation. When our children athletes competed in several tournaments in the 90s, they showed great potential of Mongolian children having success in the sport. It must also be noted that the weather has an effect on playing baseball in Mongolia. As it is played outside, it is not possible to train in the sport during winter.
-And what was the goal for establishing the Mongolian Ponyball Federation? What does the term “pony” mean?
-We established the Mongolian Ponyball Federation on April 12, 2019. The reason for establishing a separate federation is that the Baseball Federation is mostly involved with older children and adults. “Pony” means small. It could be said that it’s baseball for children. To develop baseball, we must first develop it in children and teenagers. Furthermore, the children that used to play the sport are all about 30 years old now. They are willing to help and teach children. What I mean by children and teenagers is children between the age of 6 to 14. There are several age groups. To make it more suitable for children to play, the field becomes smaller along with the ball becoming softer and the bat becoming lighter. We have currently created a children’s team with instructor T.Ariunbold.
-I heard that you have received the membership certificate from the ponyball federations of Asia and the Pacific as well as the world?
-Our newly established baseball federation was accepted as a member of the pony baseball federation in the Asia and the Pacific region. The PONY International Headquarters located in the U.S. has also congratulated the Mongolian federation. President of the PONY Asia Pacific Zone, President of the Pony Baseball Association of Japan Mr. Nasu Takeharu and Secretary General Mr. Kanji Omotani and Representative of the PONY Asia Pacific Zone in Mongolia Mr. Kitagawa Masahiro came to Mongolia to present the certificate to the President of the Mongolian Ponyball Federation T.Munkhbayar. The honored guests also presented baseball gloves, balls and bats to our children athletes.
With their goal as ‘Protect Our Nation’s Youth’, pony baseball was first established in the United States. It is currently being developed in over 100 countries of the world.
-How interested are our children in the sport? How many children are currently playing the sport?
-Children like baseball a lot. They are so interested in it that even girls come to play. So far, one team has been formed. There are also about 20 to 30 children who have recently become interested in the sport. In other words, we won’t be joining tournaments as of now. However, there will be a tournament held between young children in Japan this July.
-Will our athletes be participating in the tournament?
-As we won’t be able to prepare our children in just a month, they won’t be participating in the tournament. But there will be an international tournament held in the coming year in the U.S. They suggested us to prepare our team for the tournament starting now. We agreed to their suggestion.
-It is crucial to train from a young age to be successful in the future. People tend to say that Mongolians are not quite good in team sports. How well do you see baseball being developed in Mongolia?
-Yes, being a team is very important. Baseball gives children the discipline to be a team and to have one goal by joining forces. Currently, there is only one baseball field in Mongolia. Thus, we are working to build an open baseball field in Songinokhairkhan district by having discussions about it with the Governor’s Office of the district. With our goal to protect children and the youth, to support them in growing up to be a good person and develop baseball, our federation has made it our objectives to include baseball into the school programme and have students play baseball in P.E. by discussing it with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports.
-How will the issue of the athletes’ uniforms and gears be solved?
-We will work to partner with foreign countries and foreign pony baseball associations to receive certain amount of support from them. The headquarters of PONY Baseball is located in the United States. Having heard about the establishment of our federation, they are showing great support.
-Thank you for giving the interview. I wish you good luck in your future endeavors.