Taiwan IOC Member: Beijing Will Win
Taiwan's representative on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) predicted on Monday Beijing would defeat its rivals in this month's vote to host the 2008 Olympic Games.

Wu Ching-kuo said Beijing should romp home in triumph when the IOC votes at its annual meeting in Moscow on July 13.

"I think Beijing should get an estimated 60 percent of backing from the 106 IOC members to attend the meeting," Wu said ahead of his departure for Germany, from where he will fly on to Moscow.

The IOC will hear reports from the five contestants to host the 2008 summer Games -- Beijing, Paris, Toronto and outsiders Osaka and Istanbul -- before the committee votes to pick the winner.

Wu said the majority of Beijing's backing was anticipated to come from Africa, Eastern Europe and Oceania.

"If Beijing wins, it would be a great encouragement to the other developing countries particularly those in Africa, where the Olympic Games has not been held before," he said.

Wu said Taiwan would also benefit from a Beijing victory through an increase in sporting links and more access to a booming mainland construction trade for Taiwanese firms.

Chen Shui-bian, leader of Taiwan, said he supported Beijing's candidature for the Olympics despite the political stalemate between the island and the mainland.

Wu based his optimism on an IOC internal report and contacts with the other IOC members, he said.

"The most critical quote of the report is that 'Olympics Games will leave China and sports a unique legacy'," Wu told reporters.

He said it was generally agreed that Beijing's second attempt to win the Games would be more favourably considered than its narrow loss to Sydney for the 2000 event.

"Unlike eight years ago, Beijing now has more advantages," he said.

Also helpful to Beijing's bid was the concerted backing from the Chinese citizens and government at different levels, Wu said.

"Ninety-six percent of Beijing citizens support hosting of the 2008 Games, which is the highest among the five contestants," he said.

(Agencies 07/02/2001)