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China Faces Uphill Battle in 2008
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Chinese athletes will experience unprecedented difficulties in 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, according to a top sports official.

"There are a lot of unfavorable factors though we have the advantages of competing at home," Feng Jianzhong, vice president of the State General Administration of Sports, told a national sports conference.

"We have almost delivered our full potential in the Athens Games, and it is very difficult to make further breakthrough." he added.

China finished second in the medals table at the Athens Olympics in 2004 with just three golds short of the US, though its total tally of 63 was far behind the Americans' 103.

Feng called on his compatriots to be rational in judging Chinese athletes' performance in the Games.

"Judgment should not be made solely on how many medals we win," he said.

Feng also said China should take the opportunity to get most of the Chinese people involved in the Olympic Games by regular participation in various sports activities.

"The priority of staging the Olympic Games is to promote the Olympic Spirits and help create healthy life style among the Chinese people," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 18, 2006)

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