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Samaranch liking what he sees from China

By  Zhang Chunyan and Cecily Liu  (China Daily)

09:53, August 03, 2012

China's athletes represent their country in a respectable way, Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr, executive board member of the International Olympic Committee, told China Daily in an exclusive interview in London.

Samaranch, the 52-year-old son of the former president of the IOC, also described the Chinese Olympic team as being "very strong", which is borne out by the fact it currently leads the gold medals tally.

"You have very good athletes in all sports, and swimming is no exception. It was going to come sooner or later - it's coming now," he said of China's success in the Olympic pool.

"Swimming has started with a lot of world records, and the (Chinese) athletes have been able to perform to the best of their ability," he said.

Sun Yang became the first Chinese male swimmer to earn Games gold when he won the 400m freestyle in an Olympic record time.

And sensation Ye Shiwen, 16, stunned the world twice with her record-breaking performance in the 400m individual medley and the 200m individual medley.

US swimming coach John Leonard said Ye's performance was "suspicious" and brought back "a lot of awful memories".

Some Western media described Chinese athletes as "robots" who were being produced to win medals.

But in Samaranch's mind, "I think there's nothing bad I can say about Chinese athletes. They are extraordinary young people. They do represent your country with a lot of honor.

"They are extraordinary ambassadors of China and the Chinese way of life, and the Chinese culture."

He also lauded China's success in a growing number of sports.

"Your medals are coming from a wide variety of sports. That gives an idea of the depth of Chinese sports," Samaranch said.

Even so, Samaranch also noted: "You see that in most team sports, your country still has more work to do; there is a lot of room for improvement.

"However, in individual sports you are mostly up there in most of the sports right now."

When asked about his impression so far of the London Olympics, Samaranch said: "I think the London Olympics has just started ... so far so good. We are happy."

About the London Olympics opening ceremony, Samaranch commented:"It was a wonderful, wonderful ceremony, a big success."

There have been concerns over whether London's public transport system, the busiest in Europe, would be able to handle the rush of spectators attending the Games.

Samaranch said: "I've been to so many Olympics. I've been going to the Summer Olympics since 1992 ... and the first days, transportation is always very difficult. Then it improves, because everybody knows where they are going."

So London is not going to be any different, he said, adding, "the start is difficult, but it's getting better and better".


Leave your comment2 comments

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PD User at 2012-08-0794.14.210.*
PD User at 2012-08-04175.136.52.*
The Chinese Olympic Team should be commended for their outstanding performances. This goes to the coaches and trainers too. The negative attitude and comments by some western media on Chinese Olympic Team success is just sour grapes. Go forward China and continue to do it your way.

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