Australia' softball team were convincing qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 by winning in Shanghai ©WBSC

Australia' softball team booked their place at next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo, defeating China 9-3 in the last game of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Softball Asia/Oceania Qualifier in Shanghai.

It's a fifth Olympic Games for the Australian team, with head coach Bob Harrow's side way too strong for a gallant Chinese outfit at the Shanghai Sports Training Center 

A pair of double plays in the first two innings set the scene, with Australia producing three double plays in total.

Chen Jia had initially led off with a single while Li Qi was hit by a pitch, but a hard grounder to second base served a 4-6-3 double play for Australia.

China continued to make inroads, thanks to a single from Yan Siyu, but Australia delivered a five-run rally to take the lead, which they would not relinquish.  

"It's an awesome feeling," Harrow said.

"It has been the longest week, but the players got their reward at the end of it with their hard work.

"It is simply great to be back at the Olympics after a 12-year wait.

"We have a great history in the Olympics, having won one sliver and three bronze medals.

"I am aware the competition in Tokyo is going to be much tougher with higher-ranked teams, but we ourselves are going for the gold."

Australia can now prepare for a fifth Olympic softball tournament ©WBSC
Australia can now prepare for a fifth Olympic softball tournament ©WBSC

Australia are the sixth and final qualifiers for the tournament at Tokyo 2020 when the sport will be appearing on the Olympic programme for the first time since Beijing 2008.

They join hosts Japan, world champions the United States and Italy, Mexico and Canada, who qualified in earlier regional tournaments. 

Australia's captain Stacey Porter was overwhelmed at the result.

"I waited for 12 years to return to the Olympics and it is so rewarding to be back at the Tokyo Olympics," she said. 

"Having won a bronze at the Athens [2004] Olympics and the silver in Beijing [2008], I am looking forward to the gold medal in Tokyo.

"It is not going to be easy, but we are determined to emerge tops this time around.

"I may be 38, but I am far from quitting the game."