08-02-2007 08:59

Special Report:   2008 Beijing Olympics

With just over a year to go until the Beijing Olympics, China has poured cold water over expectations of a gold rush for the hosts. A leading Chinese sports official disagrees with the prediction that China might replace the United States as the top gold-medal winning team next year.

Cui Dalin, a leading official of sports authority, told a press conference on Wednesday that in Olympic terms, China still trails behind the US and Russia.

Cui said, "America and Russia are stronger, we are far behind, especially in athletics, swimming and water sports. In the sports where we are traditionally strong, we have little space for improvement. America and Russia are in a leading group of their own, we are trying to be the leaders of the second group."

He confirmed some 448 Chinese athletes have already booked their place in the Beijing Games and anticipates another one hundred will join them by next August.