Australian softball captain Stacey Porter and team celebrates qualifying for the Olympics.
Australian softball captain Stacey Porter and team celebrates qualifying for the Olympics.

Qualified! Aussies chase elusive Olympic gold

Australia's women's softball team have booked their flights to Tokyo 2020 after thumping China 9-3 at the qualifying tournament in Shanghai.

Led by captain Stacey Porter and pitcher Kaia Parnaby, who threw just 82 pitches over seven innings, the Aussies piled on a five-run blitz in the second innings to set up the win.

The win marks Australia's return to the Olympic softball arena after the sport was dumped from the schedule in the lead-up to the 2012 London Games.

It was voted back into the Olympic rotation for Tokyo - a move helped by the fact that Japan is ranked second in world rankings.

Porter, who will make her third Olympic appearance in Tokyo, said the team's qualification in China was "amazing".

"I believed we were the best team here but if I am being honest I don't think we had put it all together until now," Porter said.

"But all 15 players were just super. Everyone played so well and really stepped up today and did their job which was incredible."

The historic qualification gives Australia the opportunity to improve on their best performance at the Games - a silver medal at Athens in 2004.

Their last outing, in Beijing, reaped bronze. "So there's just one colour left," Porter laughed.

In their way in Tokyo will be a powerhouse American team on top of the world rankings.

Australia have never beaten the US at an Olympics - something Porter believes is within their reach.

"I think after this week we have been an up-and-down team if I'm honest. I think this is the best Australian team I have been a part of since 2008. We have improved so much in the last 12 months.

"We have 12 months left to improve even more and I think we can go into Tokyo in a really great position."