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From August 2nd to 11th the first World University Baseball Championship was staged in Messina, Sicily in Italy. Sicily was the scene of the 1997 Summer Universiade and at that time Messina was the location for the swimming and diving competitions. Although this championship was the inaugural edition of baseball as a World University Championship sport, baseball was twice an optional sport at the Summer Universiades in Buffalo, USA (1993) and Fukuoka, Japan (1995) with the Cubans grabbing Universiade gold twice.

Ten Teams

Ten teams divided into two pools of five played a round robin stage in two venues: USA, Italy, Canada, China and Korea played in the Primo Nebiolo Stadium in Messina while Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Czech Republic, France and Japan played in Reggio Calabria.

Opening Ceremony

Many International and Italian sport personalities were present at the Opening Ceremony of the inaugural edition of this World University Baseball Championship. The following Presidents of Italian Sports Federations attended the Opening Ceremony: Mr. Francesco Purromuto, Handball Federation (FIGH); Mr. Antonio Di Blasi, Fencing Federation (FIS); Mr. Luca Di Mauro, Hockey Federation (FIH); Mr. Riccardo Fraccari, President of the Italian Baseball and Softball Federation (FIBS). Also Mr. Aldo Notari, the President of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) was present. Mr. Notari was joined by Mr. Miquel Ortín, Executive Director of the IBAF; Mr. Gaston Panaye, member of the IBAF Technical Commission for the World Championship and Mr. Richard Naylor, Chairman of the FISU International Baseball Technical Commission.

Mr. Mario Pescante, the former President of the National Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), as Undersecretary at the Ministry for the Arts and the Environment, was invited together with Mr. Gianni Petrucci, President of the CONI. FISU Secretary-General Roch Campana was also present at the Opening Ceremony. Mr. Salvatore Leonardi, the Mayor of Messina, and Mr. Mimmo Pratico, Sports Councilor of Reggio Calabria, declared the opening of the championship at the Opening Ceremony, in the presence of Mr. Aldo Notari, IBAF President and Mr. Piero Jaci, President of the WUCOC and CUS Messina. After the ceremony the teams of Italy and USA played the opening game, where the hosts got beaten by the inventors of the game 10-0.

The Championship

Cuba played a very strong championship and placed itself on the number one spot in pool B while Japan, Chinese Taipei and the Czech Republic also advanced to the quarterfinals. France did not make it to the quarterfinals. In pool A it was the USA who landed in first place, with Italy, Korea and China respectively also qualifying for the quarterfinals, leaving Canada behind. Cuba kept on playing a strong game. The Cubans defeated the Chinese 3-0 in the quarterfinals and Chinese Taipei 2-0 in the semifinals. The Cubans were going for gold and nobody was going to stop them, not even Team USA, as the Cubans beat the US 6-0 in the Gold Medal Game at the Primo Nebiolo Stadium in Messina. Orelvis Avila (CUB) pitched a complete game shutout, marking the sixth consecutive game in which the Cubans did not allow their opponents one run. Japan defeated Chinese Taipei 5-0 in the Bronze Medal Game, whereas Korea defeated Italy 12-2 in the game for the fifth place. The battle for the seventh spot was decided in favor of the Chinese when they beat the Czech Republic 9-0. Canada and France finished in 9th and 10th place respectively.

Closing Ceremony

Mr. Aldo Notari, IBAF President, Mr. Gaetano Silvestri, Chancellor of Messina University and Mr. Tai-Cheng Chen, FISU Executive Committee Delegate, presented the medals to the winning teams. Mr. Piero Jaci, President of the WUCOC presented Mr. Chen with a logo of the World University Baseball Championship, symbolizing the passing of the competition to its next host, the city of Tainan, Chinese Taipei in 2004. Then Mr. Chei officially declared the inaugural Baseball Championship closed.


MESSINA, Italy - August 2nd to 11th, 2002



Countries: 10

Male Athletes: 203

Female Athletes: 0

Officials: 77

Total Participants: 280



1. Cuba

2. USA

3. Japan

4. Chinese Taipei

5. Korea

6. Italy

7. China

8. Czech Republic

9. Canada

10. France