(ATR) Chinese Taipei's refusal to send its team to the Final Olympic Qualifier in Mexico will leave the number of teams at four.
The possibility that Taiwan's absence would mean three rather than two teams from the Americas could compete in the final Pre-Olympic in Puebla, Mexico was ruled out by the World Baseball Softball Confederation.
"The number of teams will now be four," a WBSC source confirmed to Around the Rings, referring to the remaining teams on the schedule for the June 22-26 Mexico Pre-Olympic: Australia, the Netherlands, and the second and third place teams from the Tournament of the Americas.
This Friday the so-called Super Round began in Florida with the four qualifiers in two games: United States vs Canada and Venezuela vs Dominican Republic.
The results between the teams in the elimination stage are counted for this occasion so there could potentially be elimination games for the Dominican Republic and Canada who come in with a loss. USA and Venezuela, on the other hand, show a win.
The tournament ends on Saturday and first place will have earned the fifth Olympic berth. Japan, South Korea, Israel and Mexico have already qualified.
Taiwan's absence from the World Qualifier is regrettable after it had to give up hosting this tournament just a few weeks ago. The new scenario came as a surprise to everyone because Chinese Taipei had kept the Covid-19 pandemic under control throughout 2020 and early 2021.
Restrictions imposed by the Central Government after an unforeseen outbreak forced the baseball authorities to pull out of the event. Mexico stepped forward to take over in just one month, with the approval of the WBSC.
On Wednesday, Taiwan baseball officials announced that they would not send their team to Mexico because of Covid-19.
Chinese Taipei Baseball Association (CTBA) secretary general Richard Lin said the decision was made because his organization could not find a place to hold group training for the national team, with Taiwan under a level 3 Covid-19 alert. No local government was willing to provide a venue for that purpose. .
The CTBA also expressed concerns about a contagion prevention plan proposed by host country Mexico, according to the Taipei Times.
Taiwan surpassed 10,000 infections on Friday and the death toll rose to 187. Since the start of the pandemic and until just a few weeks ago Taiwan had only recorded 2533 cases and 14 deaths.
"In the end, the mountain was too big to move and we have decided to officially withdraw from the Final Olympic Qualifier in Mexico. We are disappointed but very proud of the effort made by the staff, players and coaches. Thank you for your support! See you next time" read the CTBA's Twitter feed.
Written and reported by Miguel Hernandez
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