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Athletes look to competing in non-political Olympics
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Jamaica's Usain Bolt said on Friday that athletes want to enjoy only the competition in this year's Beijing Olympic Games.


Bolt, world championships men's 200m runner-up, said in a Puma promotion that what athletes focus on is competition instead of politics.


"I didn't know a lot about that," he said of the decision of quitting Beijing Olympics by Hollywood movie director Steven Spielberg and some other Westerners to boycott the Beijing Games.


"But I think (for athletes) this is mainly about working hard and getting to the Olympics. And we really look forward to it.


"Everything is really focusing on that. We really want to go out and compete."


The 21-year-old lost in last year's world championships to Tyson Gay of the United States, who won a gold medal with world record breaking performance, but is expecting a gold medal in Beijing.


Bolt's comment echoed what Justine Henin insisted on -- no politics at the Games.


"Politics and sport must remain separate," the world number one tennis player said on Tuesday.


"Athletes must be focused on our job which is sport, which is our passion. We all hope to bring joy to the people watching the Games.


"Winning in Athens gave me so much pleasure. The Olympics is very high for me in 2008." she added.


Norway's Kristine Engeset, 19, is also eager to participate in Beijing Games.


The European junior runner-up in women's 3,000m steeplechase, also sponsored by Puma, has yet to get through domestic qualifying but is confident she can make it to Beijing.


"My qualifying will be in June and July, and I've been doing it for years, to run every good race. I think I will make it." she said.


(Xinhua News Agency February 16, 2008)

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