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Mainland Olympic champions charm Hong Kong
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A delegation of Olympic champions from the mainland has arrived in Hong Kong. The athletes received an enthusiastic welcome at the start of their three-day good will tour.

On Friday morning, a delegation of nearly 100 mainland athletes and officials arrived at Hong Kong International Airport. Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive Donald Tsang and other high-level officials greeted them.

Liu Peng, director of the General Administration of Sport and also head of the delegation, expressed his gratitude for the warm reception. He said, "The curtain has dropped on the Beijing Olympics. At the invitation of the Hong Kong SAR government, 63 Olympic champions are now touring Hong Kong. Thanks a lot for your warm welcome."

Donald Tsang, Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive said, "I'm very happy to be here receiving the delegation. I appreciate their visit."

The group is expected to undertake demonstration events in such sports as badminton, table tennis, gymnastics, and diving. They'll also perform side by side with some of Hong Kong's top entertainers.

The delegation's arrival is prominently covered by the local media. In the afternoon, the medalists also met with journalists in the region.

During the meeting, Liu Peng gave an overview of mainland athletes' performance during the Summer Games. He also spoke about the growth of sports on the mainland since 1978.

A number of top mainland athletes then fielded questions from reporters.

A reception was held in the evening at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. On behalf of Hong Kong residents and the SAR government, Donald Tsang extended congratulations to the Olympic champions.

The delegation presented two gifts to the Hong Kong SAR government: a fan containing all the gold medalists' signatures, and a set of uniforms designed for the award ceremonies.

(CCTV August 31, 2008)

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