Taiwan will hold the World Youth Baseball Championship in August, which is expected to attract 12 international teams, a sports official said yesterday.
The 11th AA World Youth Baseball Championship will be held in Kaohsiung, from Aug. 7 to Aug. 17, said Dai Chien-fan, the head of the Taiwan Baseball Association's International Affairs Section.
"Twelve teams of 14- to 16-year-olds are expected to attend and nine have confirmed their participation," he said.
The nine teams are from Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, US, Cuba, Indonesia, the Czech Republic, Australia and Venezuela.
Europe plans to send two teams and Africa might send one team.
"We don't know why Europe has not made a decision yet, but Africa is having financial difficulty in sending a team," Dai said.
The biannual game is organized by the Switzerland-based World Baseball Federation (WBAF).
The championship is one of WBAF's three major tournaments -- Senior League games for adult players, AAA Junior games for 16 to 18-year-olds, and Youth games for 14- to 16-year-olds.
Baseball is played mostly in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Latin America, with the best players coming from the US, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
Baseball is Taiwan's national sport stemming from Japanese colonization between 1895 and 1945.
Baseball in Taiwan was particularly popular in the 1980s, after several Little League successes and a silver medal at the Olympic Games.
Taiwan was previously ranked the best team in Asia after doing well at the Baseball World Cup that was held 2002 in Taiwan, but was beaten into second place by South Korea at last year's Asian Games.
Taiwan has recently unified its baseball league structure, with the CPBL now the sole professional league organization in the country.