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Tuesday, December 26, 2000, updated at 20:30(GMT+8)

Top 10 National Sports Stories in China

Following are the top 10 national sports stories in China in the year of 2000 by Xinhua Sports Desk on Tuesday, December 26:

1. China made a historical breakthrough by ranking third both on the gold medals and total medals tallies at the Sydney Olympic Games from September 15 to October 1, grabbing 28 gold, 16 silver and 15 bronze medals. Three Chinese Olympians set eight world records in 12 times, six Chinese athletes set 11 Olympic records in Sydney.

2. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) chose Beijing as one of the five final candidate cities to bid for the right to host the 2008 summer Olympic Games. The IOC will vote for the final decision in Moscow in July of 2001.

3. Defending champion Xie Jun and her younger teammate Qin Kanying finished 1-2 at the women's world chess championships. They also led a Chinese sweep of the titles from the World Cup, the World Junior Championships and the International Olympic Team Event.

4. China's ballgame sports went further downhill as Chinese women's soccer team, runner-up in the Atlanta Games, was knocked out in the group round in Sydney. The women's volleyball team, five time world and Olympic champions and silver medalist in Atlanta, finished in a disappointing fifth place. China's men's basketball team, with the world tallest center Yao Ming (2.27 meters), failed to reach the top eight. And China's men's volleyball, soccer and women's basketball even failed to qualify for the Sydney Games.

5. A total of 117 Chinese athletes received doping tests in the Sydney Olympic Games and all of them passed with none had active

result, thanks to China's stern and tough attitudes against any kind of cheating in sports.

6. Chinese captain Sun Wen was awarded the women's soccer player of the century in an Internet vote organized by the International Football Federation (FIFA) and joined the newly-found Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) along with four of her national teammates in November.

7. Chinese Football Association (CFA) made the decision at the end of the year that no team from Chinese Soccer League Division A will be demoted next year while top two teams from Division B will be promoted as usual. Yugoslavian coach Milutinovic took the helm of the Chinese national team early this year and led China to a fourth place at the Asian Cup soccer tournament in October.

8. 2000 marked the fifth anniversary of the National Fitness Program, which helped to set up a national wide exercising system to improve the public health and fitness for ordinary people.

9. The Fourth National Farmers Games was held in October at Mianyang, Sichuan Province, with more than 3,300 athletes from China's vast countryside competing in 13 sports including typical traditional events like Wushu, dragon boat racing, kite flying and Chinese chess, etc.

10. Chinese women won their third team title at the World Table Tennis Championships in February but Chinese men's squad failed to complete the same feat by crashing to Sweden in the finals. During

the championships, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)decided to increase the diameter of the table tennis ball from 38 millimeters to 40mm after the Sydney Games, where the Chinese players swept all the four gold medals on offer.

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Following are the top 10 national sports stories in China in the year of 2000 by Xinhua Sports Desk on Tuesday, December 26:

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