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Athletes will be victims: Rogge
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The Olympic chief reiterated his support for the Beijing Olympic Games on Friday in the Chinese capital, saying that athletes will be the only victims of any boycott.

"We would obviously prefer that politicians not talk about boycotts There would be no boycott on the sporting side because we have given reassurance of the unity of the entire Olympic Movement this week. The sport movement says 'no' to boycotts," Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said.

Rogge had just concluded a week of meetings in Beijing with representatives of 205 national and regional Olympic committees and IOC members.

"I'm saying adamantly that public opinion around the world does not want boycotts. Members of the public are against boycotts because they know that the only victims are the athletes themselves and the athletes are innocent," he added.

As for the recent calls from some politicians for the boycott of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games, Rogge said it would not harm the Olympic Games, but their athletes would again be the ones to suffer.

"Many athletes will regret the absence of their political leaders at the Games when they parade at the opening ceremony," he said.

"But even that will not harm the quality and the success of the Games, for the Games is about athletes."

The president also praised the preparations of the Beijing Games organizers. "We had a very good meeting with BOCOG and I can say that preparations of BOCOG are really excellent," Rogge said.

"We are looking forward to an excellent organization of the Olympic Games."

(China Daily April 12, 2008)

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