Australia has withdrawn from the final baseball qualifying tournament for this summer's Tokyo Games because of difficulties stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, the sport's national governing body announced Wednesday.
Baseball Australia chief executive Glenn Williams said Australia would not send a team to the June 22-26 event in Mexico, originally slated to be held from June 16 in Taiwan, after the late change in venue made coronavirus safety measures unworkable.
"We worked through multiple options and scenarios but the logistical challenges of providing a safe environment for the group were insurmountable," said Williams, as quoted by the Baseball Australia site.
The qualifier was moved to Mexico on May 21 after Taiwan responded to a surge in coronavirus cases by implementing a raft of safety measures that would have kept foreign residents out of the country until after the tournament was set to start.
"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," said Williams, a member of Australia's 2004 Olympic silver medal-winning team.
The Netherlands, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela will compete for the final Olympic spot at the qualifier.
South Korea, Mexico, Israel and the United States have already secured qualification along with host nation Japan.
China had already withdrawn from the final qualifier before it was moved to Mexico, while Taiwan has also declined to take part in Mexico.