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China targets more golds in 2012
27 Aug 2008 9:58 BST

China will target sports including cycling, athletics and swimming to increase its gold medal haul at the 2012 Games, China's sports chief says.

"Only through widening our gold-winning face... can we adapt to the fierce competition in future," Liu Peng was quoted by the Beijing News as saying.

China came top of the medals table at this year's Games, winning 100 medals in 25 sports, including 51 golds.

But they came mostly from its strong sports like gymnastics and diving.

"There is still a relatively large gap between China and the best in the world in the high-profile items like athletics, swimming and cycling, and also in the popular ball sports," Liu said.

"Also, we have already mined our full potential in our strong sports at Beijing."

China won just two bronze medals in the athletics competition. Gold medal prospect Liu Xiang pulled out of the 110m hurldes with a leg injury to the disappointment of millions of Chinese fans.

The United States topped the athletics table with 23 medals, including seven golds.

Great Britain dominated the cycling medals, picking up eight golds. China managed a solitary bronze in the women's sprint event.

In the pool, China fared better winning a gold, three silver and two bronze medals. But it still trailed the US which won 12 golds among its 31 medals.

Liu called on China's athletes to make greater sacrifices and upbraided a "minority" of teams that had failed to fulfil their promise in Beijing.

"These [problems] require earnest reflection, to build courage from shame and to make up lost ground," he said.

"As soon as we step off the podium, everything starts from zero."

Earlier this week Chinese state media reported that Chinese athletes who won gold medals in Beijing are to be paid about $51,000 each (£28,000).

The payouts are an increase on the $29,000 (£16,000) that China paid its gold medallists after the 2004 Games.

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