Russia aims to finish among top three in Beijing

July 24th, 2008 - 2:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Xinhua
Moscow, July 24 (Xinhua) Russia’s Olympic team will compete to finish in the top three at the forthcoming Beijing Games starting Aug 8, chairman of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Leonid Tyagachev has said. He said that Russia can win an average of 30 gold, silver and bronze medals each, and rank among the top three in the medals table.

“We may rank third, but we don’t rule out other possibilities,” he said. “We are ready to compete with the United States and China.”

Talking about the difficulties Russian athletes may encounter at the Beijing Olympics, the chairman said language was perhaps one of them. Not all Chinese speak English, but this was also the situation during the Athens Olympics and the Turin Winter Olympics, he said.

The hot weather in Beijing was mentioned as another challenge by him. “For a northern state like Russia, the summer of Beijing is comparatively hot, but I don’t think it’s that bad,” Tyagachev said, noting the temperature reached as high as 35 degrees Celsius at the Athens Olympics.

Many Russian athletes will go through their final training stage in the eastern cities of Vladivostok, Kemerovo and Irkutsk, where conditions are similar to those in Beijing in terms of time difference and climate, and some will be in training in Japan, Tyagachev said. They are scheduled to arrive in Beijing about three days ahead of the opening of the Games.

A total of 470 Russian athletes will compete, and the whole delegation will number 800 to 900.

Tyagachev said his committee has handed over a report which asks the government to double the bonus prize for its Olympic winners, which stood at $50,000 for the gold, $30,000 for silver and $20,000 for bronze.

He was confident that that Russia had a chance to win medals in all the 20 events its athletes will take part in. “In particular, I have high expectations for free fighting, track and field and boxing,” he said. Rhythmic gymnastics, volleyball, basketball, handball and synchronized swimming are also seen as the strengths of the Russian Olympic team.
Xinhua

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