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Rogge expects top showing from China in 2008

13 October 2005

IOC President Jacques Rogge said he would not be surprised if China topped the medals table at the 2008 Beijing Olympics following its strong showing in Athens.

"The results that you achieved at the Athens Olympics last year have shown Chinese sports is really getting to the top," Rogge told Xinhua news agency in Nanjing where he attended the opening ceremony of the China National Games.

"I would not be surprised if China leads the medals count in 2008 Olympics in Beijing," he added.

Last year at the Athens Olympics, China finished in third place behind the United States and Russia in the overall medals table with 32 gold, 17 silver and 14 bronze.

China has gradually moved up the medals table since it rejoined the modern Olympic movement in 1984.

The IOC president, who is on a six-day tour of China that will include the F1 Grand Prix in Shanghai on Sunday, met with Chinese President Hu Jintao, who also attended the opening ceremonies in the eastern Chinese city late yesterday, Xinhua said in a separate report.

"The National Games is the biggest and the highest-level sports meet in China," Hu was quoted as telling Rogge.

"It is being held as a rehearsal of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to evaluate the Chinese athletes and to further enhance the preparation for the Beijing Olympics."

Hu also said China was willing to cooperate closer with the IOC to ensure the success of the Beijing Games.

"China will fulfill its promise and spare no efforts for a high-level Olympic Games in 2008," Hu said.

The 2005 National Games is the largest ever held in China with nearly 10,000 athletes from 46 regional delegations competing in 357 events in 32 sports.

The Games are held once every four years and are a mini-Chinese Olympics.

All of China's Athens gold medallists are set to participate in the Games that will continue until October 23.

IOC

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