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IOC chief hails "awakening of Asia"

August 29, 2004 19:24 IST
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The powerful performance at Athens by China, Japan and their neighbours marked the "awakening of Asia" that heralds a strong showing by Asians at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, IOC chief Jacques Rogge said on Sunday.

"This really is the Games where Asia has awakened and I believe that this is a very strong sign that Asia will be at full strength for the Beijing Games in four years," Rogge told a news conference.

He hailed the "major progress of China", which had captured their best-ever 31 gold medals by Saturday and has held second place in the medals table throughout the Games.

Rogge lauded the "extraordinary success" of Japan. Before the last day of competition on Sunday the Japanese had tripled their haul of titles at Sydney by winning 15 gold medals -- one fewer than their high of 16 golds at the Tokyo Games in 1964.

Rogge also acknowledged the "excellent scores" of South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia as further signs the world's most populous continent and home to some of the world's fastest-growing economies was a force to reckon with in the Olympic movement.

South Korea pulled in eight golds, Thailand won three titles, Chinese Taipei won two golds and Indonesia got one.

Beijing will be the third city in Asia to host the Summer Games, following Tokyo in 1964 and Seoul in 1988.

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