Cuba wants Olympic baseball gold

Aug. 08, 2008, 2:41 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) Cuban shortstop Yulieski Gourriel said his team has two goals in Beijing - win another gold medal and help restore baseball as an Olympic sport.

"I think baseball deserves to continue in the Olympic Games and it's now up to us to offer a good performance here to convince people who make the decisions," Gourriel said Friday after a training session at Wukesong Stadium.

Beijing will be the final baseball tournament following the International Olympic Committee's decision to eliminate the sport from the competition program for London 2012.

Cubans have won three of four gold medals since the sport was first included in the Olympics at Barcelona in 1992. The United States won in Sydney in 2000.

He said that while Cuba and the United States are considered favorites to win the gold medal here, there are others who could threaten.

"There are no weak rivals in baseball," he said. "Any team can play a good game and we have to be extremely careful, especially because it's a short tournament."

The 10-day tournament involving eight teams begins Aug. 13 and ends Aug. 23 with the bronze and gold medal finals.