TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Mexico will replace Taiwan as the host of the upcoming final baseball qualifier of the Tokyo Olympics due to a surge of local COVID-19 cases in the East Asian country.
As Taiwan grapples with a recent explosion in domestic infections, the World Baseball and Softball Confederation on Thursday (May 20) announced the decision to move the tournament to Mexico. The event was originally set to be held June 16-20 in Taichung.
Since China withdrew from the tournament earlier this month, Team Taiwan will compete with four other countries instead of five for the last ticket to the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics, including Australia, the Netherlands, and the second and third-place winners from the Americas tournament in early June.
However, the pandemic situation in Mexico appears to be more severe than Taiwan, as it continues to register about 2,000 COVID-19 cases per day. Since most players on Team Taiwan have yet to be vaccinated against the disease, officials are evaluating the risk of traveling to the Latin American nation and are consulting with the players on their willingness to participate.