EDITORIAL: Sports world comes to Semiahmoo Peninsula

Women's World Softball Championships and Tour de White Rock highlight a busy sports weekend in South Surrey and White Rock.

For sports fans in South Surrey and White Rock, this weekend presents a unique opportunity to watch some of the world’s top athletes in our own backyards.

Beginning Friday (and running until July 24), Surrey is set to host the 2016 Women’s World Softball Championships, while the popular Tour de White Rock cycling series takes place this Saturday and Sunday.

Though the world championships – the bid for which Surrey won way back in 2013 – are a first for the city, being able to watch international-level softball up close and personal is nothing new for local residents, as the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championships, and its precursor, the Canada Cup, have been an annual event since the early 1990s.

The Tour de White Rock, too, has become something of a rite of summer, now in its 37th year on White Rock streets.

Oftentimes, such familiarity can lead to us taking such events for granted, but residents – sports fans or simply supporters of community events – would be well-advised to fight against any feeling of malaise.

The world championships, after all, will feature high-level softball talent rarely seen in Western Canada, as all 31 countries – including highly ranked Japan, United States, Australia and Canada – will send their ‘A’ teams, rather than ‘B’ squads or development teams.

The level of talent will be unparalleled and not likely to be seen here again anytime soon.

Greater still, with softball expected to be voted back into the Olympic Games next month, many of the young women you see on the diamonds at Softball City over the next nine days are, potentially, part of our country’s next crop of Olympic champions.

This weekend’s two-day Tour de White Rock will feature a star-studded cast, as well.

Through the years, the cycling series – and the rest of the races that comprise BC Superweek – has seen its racing roster chock full of Olympians, Canadian national championships, as well as top talent from the U.S. and European pro circuits.

The sports world is coming to our doorstep this week, so whether you choose to buy a ticket or two for the world championships at Softball City, or stake out a prime viewing location for the Tour de White Rock – either uptown White Rock Saturday afternoon or along Marine Drive Sunday morning – the opportunities are not to be missed.