Japanese Professional Baseball (NPB) club the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters has announced that the team will go to Okinawa for their pre-season training camp from 1 February 2020.

Since 2016, the Fighters have always had their first pre-season training camps in Arizona, USA, before arriving in Okinawa in mid-February to fine tune their sharpness at venues like the Nago City Ballpark and Kaigin Stadium Kunigami. The redevelopment of the former, however, began in 2018 and the team could only use its surrounding facilities while the work on the ballpark was being done.

With the City of Nago confident that the work will complete in time and the ballpark will be ready as planned, the Fighters will start their pre-season in Japan for the first time in five years.

“We would like to express our deepest gratitude to those at the City of Nago who made it possible to complete the redevelopment of the Nago City Ballpark within two years while doing their best to make sure most of our requests got reflected,” Koji Kawamura, Fighters president and chief executive, said.

“We are sure that the new ballpark and its surrounding area will prosper as northern Okinawa’s latest landmark for sports and community activities, and our players will also be able to focus on their training with a breath of fresh air the new ballpark brings.

“We would also like to thank our MLB partners who were kind enough to let us use the world’s newest and finest facilities and equipment while we were in the USA since 2016. Our young players, especially, were hugely inspired by the fantastic environment offered and took everything in to become better player. We would love to continue nurture our partnerships for the future as well.”

Images: Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters

News provided by The Stadium Hub