Japan are the reigning Olympic softball champions ©WBSC

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has announced that world number five Puerto Rico will replace world number nine China in the softball competition at the Birmingham 2022 World Games.

The softball competition is scheduled to be held at Hoover Met Park from July 9 to 13.

With Puerto Rico’s addition, the top-eight nations will now compete at the 2022 World Games, set to be held from July 7 to July 17.

China withdrew from the event because of Covid-19 related travel restrictions in effect by the Chinese Government.

The teams have been split into two groups with USA, Canada, Chinese Taipei and Italy in Group A.

Group B comprises of Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Australia.

Puerto Rico are ranked fifth in the world ©Getty Images
Puerto Rico are ranked fifth in the world ©Getty Images

Puerto Rico will face Mexico in the opening match of the softball competition on July 9 followed by Chinese Taipei taking on Canada.

Tokyo 2020 gold medallists Japan will start their campaign against Australia while hosts USA will take on Italy. 

Softball was removed from the World Games programme after the first two editions in Santa Clara in 1981 and London in 1985.

However, it was reintroduced as an invitational sport at Kaohsiung 2009 and Cali 2013.