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Youth sports stay strong in China

(China Daily)

08:49, August 12, 2011

Shenzhen residents pose for pictures as they watch the torch relay for the 2011 Universiade on Thursday in the city's Longgang area. The Shenzhen Universiade will officially open on Friday, attracting about 7,800 athletes and officials from all over the world. See story on page 2. (Photo by Cui Meng / China Daily)

SHENZHEN, Guangdong - The International University Sports Federation (FISU) is ready to work with China to promote university sports, its president George E. Killian told Chinese President Hu Jintao on Thursday, a day prior to the opening of the 26th Summer Universiade.

According to Killian, FISU has maintained smooth cooperation with China, and the past major sports events held in China have been successful as China attaches great importance to youth sports.

"FISU is ready to continue to strengthen cooperation with China," Killian said.

Beijing hosted the 21st Summer Universiade in 2001. In the same year it won the bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

Killian also said earlier that Beijing was a good example of using the Universiade to improve itself and then stage a memorable Olympics in 2008.

Hu said Shenzhen has been well prepared for the coming Universiade and "we look forward to the full success of the 26th Summer Universiade".

Foreign leaders who will also be present at Friday's opening ceremony include President of Mozambique Armando Guebuza, President of Bolivia Juan Evo Morales Ayma, President of Fiji Ratu Epeli Nailaticau, Prime Minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi, and Prime Minster of Romania Emil Boc.

The Universiade is staged every two years in a different city. More than 7,800 athletes and officials from more than 150 countries and regions will attend the Shenzhen Universiade. The record figures for the Summer Universiade are 9,006 participants in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2007 and 174 countries and regions in Daegu, South Korea in 2003.

Founded in 1949, FISU's main responsibility is the supervision of the Summer and Winter Universiade as well as the World University Championships.

Hu on Thursday also met Irina Gueorguieva Bokova, director general of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

According to Hu, China attaches great importance to cooperation with UNESCO, and has actively supported and taken part in activities organized by UNESCO, including preserving world cultural and natural heritage sites and promoting education.

Bokova said she hopes China and UNESCO could further enhance their cooperation.

"China has been an important member of UNESCO, and has cooperated well with UNESCO in supporting the development of developing countries. UNESCO pays tribute to this," said Bokova.

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