TAIPEI – Baseball’s final qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics has been postponed from April to June because of concerns over the virus outbreak that has infected nearly 89,000 people and caused more than 3,000 deaths, mostly in China.
The World Baseball Softball Confederation announced Monday the qualification event scheduled for Taichung and Dou Liu in Taiwan on April 1-5 had been postponed to June 17-21 because of “player, personnel and spectator heath and safety measures against the spread of the coronavirus.”
Hundreds of new cases of the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease have been announced in recent days outside of China. There have been 40 cases and one death in Taiwan.
The Olympics are scheduled to open July 24, with baseball competition set to be played at Fukushima and Yokohama from July 29 to Aug. 8.
The second- and third-place teams from the Americas qualifying tournament in Arizona next month will advance to the final qualifying tournament in Taiwan, joining a field that will include Australia, China, the Netherlands and Taiwan.
Baseball was an Olympic event from 1992-08 and has been restored for the Tokyo Oympics.