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Tokyo 2020: Baseball returns after 13 years, but why are only 6 countries competing? Updated: 2021-08-05 15:06:28 KST

Baseball has returned to the Olympics for the first time in 13 years.
The last time we saw baseball was at the 2008 Beijing Games.
In fact, the relationship between baseball and the IOC has been rocky for years.
Baseball was played as a "demonstration sport" for years,.. before being adopted as a medal sport in Barcelona in 1992.
But after 2008 … the sport was voted out by the IOC, citing not enough global interest.
As a result, baseball was not featured at London 2012 or Rio 2016.

How did it return?
Of course the IOC is in charge of deciding what sports are included.
But the host city can also play a role in the decision making.
And this year,… Japan proposed men's baseball and women's softball - hugely popular in Japan.
And the country is largely favored to win gold, as the number 1 ranked side according to the World Baseball Softball Confederation.
All these were good reasons for Japan to add baseball to the list,… along with four newly-introduced sports skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing and karate.

Baseball's return has come with a set of complicated tournament rules under the double elimination system.
That's largely because only 6 teams compete.
Of course that includes the host country Japan,… South Korea, the U.S.,… as well as Israel, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
Due to scheduling needs and venue limitations, there's a cap on athlete numbers.
And the organizers decided limit baseball's to 144 in total.
Given that 24 athletes are required for entry,… that makes only 6 teams - with Japan automatically qualifying as the host nation.
Candidates fiercely competed just to get their tickets to Tokyo.
And due to the complicated format, even the loser of Wednesday's game can still win gold.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.
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