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Spanish Olympic president predicts 6 gold medals in Beijing
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Alejandro Blanco, president of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE), said Tuesday that he expected his country to win six gold medals in the Beijing Olympics.

Speaking at a meeting in Madrid's Palace Hotel, which also saw the attendance of Spain's Secretary of State for Sport Jaime Lissavetzky, Blanco at first refused to be drawn on his medal hopes for Spain.

"I would rather leave the predictions to the Secretary of State, he has taken into account our results in the Olympic cycle, but making predictions always gives me bad luck. The most important thing is to go with an experienced team and the results will put us in our place," he said in declarations printed on the COE's official website.

However, Blanco then changed his mind and gave his idea of the number of Spaniards who he believed could triumph in Beijing.

"I am not going to say a total number of medals, but there is one thing I have been thinking about for a long time. In Athens we won three gold medals and we are going to win six. That is the only number I am going to give."

"We have never gone to the Games with more possibilities of getting to results. The cycle 2004-2008 is the best in our history and that is thanks to the sports people, coaches, club, federations, our sporting directors, politicians, the media, companies, families and friends, who help give stability to our athletes."

"They are all consolidated sports people, some of whom have not been off the podium in the past four years," added Blanco.

With two Spanish cyclists (Manuel Beltran and Moises Dueas) having recently tested positive for doping in the Tour de France, Blanco insisted that Spanish sport was clean nevertheless dope free.

"Sadly only the news of those two positive tests gets reported and not the stories of all of the people who train every day without taking substances that damage their bodies and sport in general."

"We have to bear in mind that Spanish sport is clean and this is the moment for sport and sports people," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency July 23, 2008)


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