Dreaming of Olympic competition since childhood, Saskatoon softball player swinging for gold in Tokyo

Saskatoon’s Jennifer Gilbert will step up to the plate in Tokyo this August when she competes for a gold medal in woman's softball.

“From the age of eight I just knew I was going to be here, 29 years old about to go on a plane to Tokyo to compete for Canada,” she said.

Gilbert, 29, who shares dual citizenship between Canada and the United States, said choosing which team to represent was an easy decision.

“I spent a lot of my childhood in Canada and just fell in love with the country,” said Gilbert.

Brian Kosteroski, president of Saskatoon Amateur Softball Association, said excitement is starting to build for the younger generation of softball players who will watch Team Canada on a national stage.

“It’s huge when you got a gal from your own backyard playing in an olympic games and you know she will be back in Saskatoon in the future giving back to the game and so these kids are pretty pumped up,” said Kosteroski.

The Canadian softball team is ranked number three in the world and Gilbert believes they are the most prepared team going into Tokyo, where they are keeping their sights set on a medal.

“Having those moments where you can take it all in and realize and appreciate that you've come so far and you've worked so hard but also not making the moment bigger than it needs to be and staying within ourselves,” Gilbert said.

Team Canada will play Mexico in its opening game on July 21.