Baseball, loosely based on the English game of rounders, developed in the United States in the early 19th century and the first professional league was formed in 1871 with nine teams. Baseball was one of the late admissions to the Olympics, in 1992, and only amateurs were admitted. Professionals were allowed in eight years later but the prospect of Olympic glory failed to attract the biggest names from the North American major league. The sport has been dropped from the programme for the 2012 London Olympics. The first Olympic gold medal was awarded to Cuba which also won the title in 1996 and 2004.
Eight teams of 24 players will take part ? China, United States, Cuba, Netherlands, Taiwan, South Korea, Canada and Japan.
Wukesong Baseball Field *Reuters