Tokyo 2020: Australian baseball team pulls out of Olympic qualifiers, citing Covid fears

The Fukushima Azuma baseball stadium, one of the venues for the baseball and softball at the 2020 Olympics, is pictured during a media tour in Fukushima in 2019.

Australia's baseball team has pulled out of Olympic qualifiers, citing the "insurmountable" challenge of traveling to Mexico during COVID-19.

"Attending the Final Olympic Qualifier in a COVID world was always going to present significant challenges," Baseball Australia chief executive Glenn Williams acknowledged in a press release Wednesday.

The late-June qualifying event was to be held in Taiwan, but was moved to Mexico after the Taiwanese government limited foreign arrivals in the face of an outbreak.

"We worked through multiple options and scenarios but the logistical challenges of providing a safe environment for the group were insurmountable," Williams said.

Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features, and videos

"Even if Team Australia were successful in winning the event, the timing didn't allow for the team to complete quarantine in Australia and meet the requirements of entry to the Tokyo games.

The Chinese and Chinese Tapei teams have also pulled out of the Olympic qualifiers, according to Baseball Australia.

Baseball is returning to the Olympics for the first time since Beijing 2008. Australia won a baseball silver medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Hosts Japan, Israel, Mexico, South Korea and the United States have already qualified for the Tokyo Games baseball event, with the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and the Netherlands competing for the final berth at the Mexico qualifying tournament, which will be held June 22-26 in Puebla.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.