Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) spoke highly of China's National Games yesterday when he came to Nanjing, the capital city of eastern Jiangsu Province, to attend the opening ceremony of China's 10th National Games.
"I know the importance of China's National Games, and it is not only for the athletes but for the whole population," Rogge said while meeting Liu Peng, director of China's State Administration of Sports, and other Chinese officials of the Chinese Olympic Committee.
"There is no doubt that after the great success you have achieved in Athens last year during the Olympic Games, and with the preparations that you have now for the National Games, I would not be surprised if China would lead the medal count in 2008 Beijing Olympic Games."
Several IOC members are part of Rogge's entourage, including Hein Verbruggen, president of IOC's Co-ordination Commission for the Beijing Olympics, and Richard Kevin Gosper, the Co-ordination Commission's vice-president.
It is the second time for Rogge to attend China's National Games. He attended the event for the first time in Guangzhou four years ago. But it is his inaugural tour to Nanjing, the capital during 10 periods in Chinese history.
"I'm very glad to be in Nanjing because it is a very special city to China. It is a city of culture but today it is also a city of sports," said Rogge, while visiting Dr Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum after arriving in the city. "I know the Chinese history very well, and it is a very important place of China."
While touring some of the places of interests in Nanjing, Rogge also expressed his interest towards the opening ceremony of the Games.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the National Games, which are always of the high quality. I remember very well of the opening ceremony in Guangzhou four years ago and I expect something that is very, very spectacular," Rogge said.
As for the mascot of the Games, Jinlin, he said it was very nice and creative.
Rogge is conducting his six-day tour in China, and Nanjing is his second stop.
He arrived in Beijing on Tuesday and inspected some of the construction sites of the Olympic venues, including the National Stadium and the National Aquatic Centre.
"I was very pleased with the progress of the work and I'm sure that BOCOG is doing an excellent job," Rogge said.
He leaves Nanjing for Xi'an today, where he will meet local government leaders and sports officials, and pay visits to some historical places like the Terracotta Army Museum and the Shaanxi History Museum.
After having a taste of the Chinese history, Rogge will head to Qingdao, the sailing venue for the 2008 Olympics, to see the facilities of sailing events.
Source: China Daily