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Tainan Wins Hosting Bid for Four Consecutive Editions of WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup

A delegation composed of representatives from Tainan City Government and Chinese Taipei Baseball Association gave a presentation to the WBSC Executive Board in Paris to petition to make Tainan a permanent hosting city of the U-12Baseball World Cup. There were a total of 30 board members from over 20 countries present at the March 23 meeting. Mayor Li Men-yen gave a clear and organized speech on Tainan’s various endeavors and presented the city’s confidence and determination to win the bid. The presentation, supported with exciting and informative video clips, was received with a round of applause from the board members, including WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari, showing that Mayor Li Men-yen has successfully completed this city diplomacy mission. 
 
In the afternoon of March 24, the Executive Board officially announced that Tainan City will host the 2021, 2023, 2025, and 2027 editions of the U-12 Baseball World Cup. Along with 2019, this means Tainan will host five consecutive editions of the world’s most popular and top-level U-12 Baseball tournament in the next decade. Although due to rules and conventions, Tainan cannot become a permanent hosting city like Williamsport, the headquarters of Little League Baseball, but the fact that Tainan has and will host seven consecutive editions (including 2015 and 2017) has already set a new record. This reflects Taiwan’s importance and achievements in the international baseball community, and also shows recognition of the past two successful tournaments hosted by Tainan City. 
 
When Premier William Lai was still serving as city mayor, Tainan had already won the hosting bid for three consecutive editions of WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup (2015, 2017, 2019), which is unprecedented in international sports games. After WBSC announced the decision, Tainan made comprehensive preparation plans for the 2015 and 2017 games to show that the city has the capacity to host international sports competitions. In addition to providing appropriate competition venues, Tainan also arranged welcoming ambassadors for the teams from twelve countries so that every athlete can enjoy a warm welcome. The local hosts welcomed their guests at the airport, and cheered them on at each game. They also took the visiting athletes on city tours and cultural experiences, making this event not only a baseball competition, but also an opportunity for the children to form friendships and make special memories. 
 
In order to establish a lively and festive atmosphere, the city government set up promotional materials in various corners in the city and on city buses. The installments stirred up a sense of excitement among the public which were all looking forward to this baseball festival for the young athletes. WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari expressed that the tournament in Tainan was exactly the baseball festival they wished to see. He remarked that the competition was filled with laughter and great memories, and many young athletes wrote to him after the games to say that they really enjoyed competing in Tainan. Tainan has successfully introduced itself to the world through baseball and our dedication to host great sports competitions. 
 
With an area of 34 hectares and a construction budget of approximately NTD 2.9 billion, the Tainan Asia-Pacific International Baseball Stadiums and Training Center will include an Adult League main baseball field and secondary baseball field, Little League baseball field and secondary field, and an infield practice area. The facility, which combines greenery, water, sports, and culture, is located right next to the National Museum of Taiwan History and a flood detention basin. Construction for the Little League baseball field has begun this year (2018) on March 17, and it is scheduled to be the venue for the 2019 WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup. The official opening of this venue will be celebrated with the world’s highest level and most popular U-12 Baseball World Cup event. During the presentation in Paris, the WBSC board members supported the overall plan of the Tainan Asia-Pacific International Baseball Stadiums and Training Center, applauded the city’s efforts, and expressed that they looked forward to visiting the venue in 2019.  
 
Since the Tainan Giants won the World Cup in the 70s, baseball has become more and more popular in Tainan. The city has teams playing in Little League, Senior League, Big League, and in universities; and is now planning to establish a city baseball team. The professional baseball team Uni-President Lions is also based in Tainan City, which shows the city has a comprehensive environment to further promote baseball. Furthermore, Tainan continues to promote the sport in communities and encourage residents to take part in the sport and start baseball clubs. The city government hopes to promote Tainan as a “Baseball City”, as we are known here in Taiwan, to the world.