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Competitive Sports

Widely seen as a rehearsal for the 2008 Olympics, the 15th Asian Games held in December 2006 in the Qatari capital Doha was the last comprehensive intercontinental sports gathering for Chinese athletes before the Beijing Olympics. The Chinese squad won 316 medals in total, including 165 gold, 88 silver and 63 bronze. For the seventh time in succession the team took first place in the gold medals table.

Back in March 1959, at the 25th World Table Tennis Championships held in Germany, the table-tennis player Rong Guotuan won the first world title in China's sporting history. It was followed by many more successes. By the end of 2006, Chinese athletes had altogether won 2,047 world championships and broken world records 1,165 times. In the 18 years since 1989, Chinese athletes have won 1,693 world championships, accounting for 82.7 percent of the total; and broken world records 783 times, making up 67.2 percent of the total. It was a period when China's competitive sports enjoyed continuous and rapid development.

At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, China took home 63 medals, 36 of them (57.1 percent of the total) being won by young athletes; 10 of the gold medal winners were under 20 years old, which demonstrates the increasing maturity of China's young athletes and growing overall strength in competitive sports. At Athens Chinese athletes excelled in canoeing, track and field, tennis, etc. Liu Xiang made Chinese sporting history by taking gold in the 110-meter hurdles, equaling the world record time of 12.91 seconds and registering a new Olympic record. In canoeing Meng Guanliang and Yang Wenjun won the men's C2500 final, China's first Olympic gold in aquatic sports. Sun Tiantian and Li Ting won the women's tennis doubles final, China's first ever tennis gold. 

Liu Xiang, breaking the 110m hurdles record and winning the championship at the 2006 Doha Asian Games

The credit for China's achievements in competitive sports should go to the training system, which is constantly being perfected. It is based on juvenile amateur sports schools and basic-level clubs, with teams representing localities as the backbone, and the national team at the highest level. The training system ensures that China's elite teams maintain a year-round squad of some 20,000 outstanding athletes, to become a crack force capable of scaling international sporting heights. 

On February 3, 2004, the State Council proclaimed the Anti-Doping Regulations, stipulating in detail for the first time regulations concerning doping control, anti-doping obligations, doping examination and monitoring, and legal liabilities. The Regulations came into force on March 1, 2004. 

Chinese male gymnasts winning the men's team event at the 2006 World Gymnastics Championships, Aarhus

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