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Asian baseball heavyweights to face off in new event

Tokyo will host a new national team baseball tournament which will be contested by Japan, South Korea and Chinese Taipei later this year, it has been announced.

The Korean Baseball Organization confirmed that the inaugural Asia Professional Baseball Challenge will run from November 16-19 at the Tokyo Dome stadium in the Japanese capital. The KBO said the event will take place every four years.

Korean news agency Yonhap reported that the KBO reached the agreement following talks last week with Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and the Chinese Professional Baseball League. According to Yonhap, the KBO first suggested the tournament in May last year.

The event will be limited to players under the age of 24, or those with fewer than three years of professional experience. However, teams will be permitted to select three players over the age or experience limit.

Teams will play each other once, with the top two teams after the round-robin stage to face off in the final. The winning team will receive JPY20m (€164,000/$176,000), with the runner-up to be awarded JPY5m.

South Korea had originally been earmarked as the host of the tournament, before the three leagues agreed that Tokyo, the setting for the 2020 summer Olympic Games, should stage the event. Tokyo 2020 will mark baseball’s return to the Olympics following a 12-year hiatus.