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China fills top sports post for Olympics
Updated: 2004-12-11 08:59

China appointed Liu Peng who has never worked in sports to oversee the preparation of athletes for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Liu Peng (L) shakes hands with Yuan Weimin, former director of the State General Administration of Sport. [cns]

Liu Peng, who most recently was deputy party chief in Sichuan province, will be director of the State General Administration of Sport.

He replaces Yuan Weimin, a former coach of the women's volleyball team that won five straight world titles during the 1980s.

The government retains control over China's state-supported sports apparatus, and Liu's appointment appeared aimed at ensuring the leadership retained final authority.

Yuan, 65, was retiring because of age, the All-China Sports Federation said on its Web site.

He also served as president of the Chinese Olympic Committee, and it wasn't immediately clear if Liu would take that job as well.

"I know the world is watching the 2008 Olympics," Liu said in remarks on the Web site.

"The sons and daughters of China at home and overseas see its arrival as an important symbol of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese race," he added.

China has promised to beat its record of 32 gold medals from the Athens Olympics, the second most after the United States.

Yuan also was head of the Chinese soccer association at a time when the professional league fell into scandal and financial crisis while the national team was eliminated from qualifying for the 2006 World Cup.

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