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Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2006, 17:39 GMT
China expects more medals in 2008
Liu Xiang
China's Liu Xiang was the biggest star on the most successful team in Doha
Chinese sports officials have demanded an improvement from the country's athletes, despite their total domination of the 2006 Asian Games.

With the Beijing Olympics 20 months away, officials declared themselves dissatisfied despite a final tally of 165 golds and 316 medals overall.

Chef de mission Liu Peng said: "We are well aware of our weaknesses when analysing our performance.

"We must re-double our efforts to meet the coming greater challenges."

China finished second to the USA in the medal table at the 2004 Olympics, but has set its sights on topping the table in Beijing in 2008.

And officials are under intense pressure to deliver the goods after a massive financial and personnel investment from the Chinese government.

Duan Shijie, the deputy head of the Chinese delegation, said he believed the 647 Chinese athletes could have done better in their last major multi-sport event before Beijing Olympics.

FINAL MEDAL TABLE
1. China - 165 golds, 316 in total
2. South Korea - 58 golds, 193 in total
3. Japan - 50 golds, 198 in total
4. Kazakhstan - 23 golds, 85 in total
5. Thailand - 13 golds, 54 in total

Duan said: "Their achievements impressed me, but the athletes should be aware of the fact that Asian Games are not the same as Olympic Games.

"In the Olympics, they will be faced with more pressure, stronger opponents and fiercer competition."

His sentiments were shared by Liu Xiang, the 110m hurdles Olympic champion and world record holder, who is his country's biggest sporting celebrity.

"China may be the big brother in Asia and hard for other Asian countries to catch, but there are lots of countries that are better at Olympic sports such as swimming," said Liu.

Liu was the highest-profile athlete at Doha and cruised to a comfortable win in his event, setting a meet record 13:15 seconds.

China has topped the Asian Games medal tallies at every meet since 1982.

Two-thirds of its team in Qatar were taking part in their first major multi-sport games, part of a strategy of giving its deep pool of talent greater competition experience.

The Games, which were the biggest ever staged, ended with a closing ceremony on Friday themed on the famous Middle-Eastern tale Arabian Nights.



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