Australian baseball team withdraws from Olympic qualifying

Australia’s Olympic baseball team has given up trying to qualify for the Tokyo Games because of coronavirus-related travel complications

SYDNEY — Australia’s Olympic baseball team has given up trying to qualify for the Tokyo Games because of coronavirus-related travel complications.

“Attending the final Olympic qualifier in a COVID world was always going to present significant challenges,” Williams said. “The planning for Taiwan was extensive and with the late change in location and dates, those plans became obsolete.

“We worked through multiple options and scenarios but the logistical challenges of providing a safe environment for the group were insurmountable.”

Williams said even if Australia attended and won the qualifying event, subsequent quarantine requirements made it impossible to compete at the Tokyo Games starting on July 23.

World No. 4-ranked Taiwan last week pulled out of the Mexico qualifying tournament for the same reason. China withdrew in early May before the tournament was moved from Taiwan to Mexico.

The decision left the Dominican Republic, Netherlands and Venezuela to compete for the final spot in the six-nation Olympic field.

The first-place team in the round-robin round in Puebla will advance to the final, and the second- and third-place teams will meet in a one-game playoff for a place in the one-game final.

The winner joins host Japan, the United States, Israel, Mexico and South Korea at the Olympic baseball tournament from July 28 to Aug. 7 in Fukushima and Yokohama.

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