President Hu cheers up country’s Olympians

July 24th, 2008 - 6:01 pm ICT by IANS  


Beijing, July 24 (IANS) President Hu Jintao says he is looking forward to the Chinese athletes producing their best performance during the Olympic Games at home. “Keep a cool mind and achieve outstanding results,” the Chinese President said.

Hu, accompanied with vice-president Xi Jinping, visited various stadiums to watch gymnasts, synchronised swimmers, weightlifters and table tennis, basketball and volleyball teams train.

“Your moves are clear-cut and very elegant. I wish you success at the Games,” Hu told 16-year-old He Kexin seeing her perform on the uneven bars. The teenager won two World Cup titles earlier this year.

Athletes from 14 countries in 11 disciplines are training at 15 stadiums.

At the basketball stadium, the president was impressed by the men’s basketball team and inquired about star player Yao Ming who resumed training after recovering from a foot injury.

“The whole nation is very concerned about your foot. How is it now?” Hu asked the Houston Rockets star.

“It’s okay,” Yao replied. The NBA star played his second match after coming back from injury Saturday in the eastern city of Hangzhou, scoring 16 points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes against Angola.

At the swimming stadium, Hu watched the performance of synchronised swimmers.

“We are here to give a boost to your spirits,” the Chinese president told the swimmers. “We are happy to learn that you have improved rapidly under the guidance of head coach Masayo Imura. Give her a big applause to express our sincere thanks.”

Imura started coaching in China after the 2006 Doha Asian Games where China dethroned long-time champions Japan in both the duet and team competitions.

Imura pledged she would do her utmost to lead China get good results.

At the table tennis stadium, Hu lauded the players from a sport that China has dominated, winning 16 Olympic gold medals over the years. Star players Wang Nan and Zhang Yining are part of the team.

At the weightlifting centre and volleyball stadium, he stressed on the virtues of anti-doping.

“Anti-doping is a precondition for hosting a successful Games,” he said after signing his name on a scroll for anti-doping. “As the host nation, China has to set a good example.”

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