The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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For China, Beijing 2008 is the target

Busan: China will do all they can at the Busan Asian Games to maintain their dominant stranglehold over Asian sport, but an ongoing youth movement is aimed at preparing a new crop of athletes for the 2008 Olympic Games, officials said on Sunday.

“The mission for the Chinese delegation is to secure a top finish in the gold and medals standings and maintain our lead in Asia,” said Li Furong, deputy Chef-de-Mission of the Chinese delegation. “It will not be an easy job and we will work hard for it,” he told a press conference.

China have sent their biggest delegation ever to the Asian Games, but nearly 80 per cent of the 685 athletes have never participated in an international sports meet, he said. “The average age of our athletes is 23.3 years,” Li said. “So our task is arduous and we are going to have to overcome a lot of difficulties if we really want to get good results.”

At the last Asian Games in Bangkok in 1998, China won 129 gold medals for the top finish with South Korea and Japan standing second and third with 65 and 52 golds, respectively.

Since debuting in the Asian Games in 1974, China have clinched the top place in gold medals and total medals five times. (AFP)

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