Olympic chief Rogge backs China to top London Games

Guangzhou: International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge believes China`s golden domination of Beijing in 2008 and their Asian Games stranglehold will continue at the 2012 London Olympics.

Rogge also insists that Asia`s growth on the sporting stage will become even more pronounced.

"In 2004, at the end of the Athens Olympics I said ...`we saw the rise of the Asian continent in sport, as there were great performances, not just by China, but also by Japan, Korea and Thailand," Rogge told Chinese media.

"This has been confirmed in Beijing 2008, where your country (China) was number one in the gold medal count with 51 gold. And this would continue definitely at London 2012."

Rogge, who attended the Asian Games opening ceremony here on Friday, has seen up close how much time and money had been invested in this event, which is second in size only to the Olympics.

The investment only serves to highlight the emergence of Asian sporting potential, he believes.

"Asia is the most populous continent in the world and population is important in sport," he said.

"The larger the population, the better the chances for those good results.”

"Secondly, Asia is now becoming very strong economically. The third is that many cities are expanding and see sport as a way to intelligently accomplish that."

Rogge also talked up Guangzhou`s ability to host the Olympics after witnessing the Games opening ceremony.

"Guangzhou definitely has the skill to do that," said the Olympic chief when asked about the prospect of the southern Chinese metropolis one day hosting the summer Games.

"Guangzhou would have the expertise and experience from these Games."

Friday`s opening ceremony, which was held on an island in the middle of the Pearl River, also drew praise from Rogge.

"I think it was an absolutely fantastic opening ceremony. I liked also very much the activity in using the water and using the river and also the backdrop of the city behind the scene," he said.

"I know my Chinese friends are masters in organizing major events, and definitely sports events."

Rogge, who is in the final spell of his presidency, believes that the legacy of the 2008 Olympics has been a benefit for all of China.

"It left a legacy on humanity by showing how sports is really anchored very deeply in Chinese society," said the Belgian.

Bureau Report