People's Daily Online
UPDATED: 09:48, August 24, 2006
The Dominican Republic national baseball team flew to Cuba on Wednesday to compete in the America's Olympic qualifying tournament that begins on Friday with two Olympic tickets, according to reports received here.
The Dominican sports ministers and the Dominican baseball federation gave the team a formal send-off in Santo Domingo. The Dominicans won silver at the 20th Central American and Caribbean Games, which ended on July 15 in Colombia.
The first phase of the competition is in groups. Group A is made up of the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama and Cuba, the current Olympic champion, while Group B pitches the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
The top four from each group will go through to a knockout competition, where the two winners win Olympic places.
The tournament will also award six places to the 2007 Pan American Games, to be held in Rio de Janeiro, and four places to the 2007 World Cup, slated in Chinese Taipei.
Some of the teams that do not make the Olympics will also qualify for play-off places in a competition that pits them against counterparts in Asia, Africa and Europe.