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8th National Games: Shanghai 1997

2004-03-27 14:29:00 COC

    The 8th National Games held in Shanghai on October 12-24, 1997 was crowned with tremendous success, and went down as a landmark in the annals of China's sports. Close competition in 28 sports produced a bumper crop of 162 records, including 41 world records, seven of which being WRs in Olympic events, 55 Asian records and 66 national records. Competitions in table tennis and diving were tense and of such a high level that they were comparable to major world tournaments. And on top of this, a large number of young talents have come to the fore, indicating that there was no lack of successors on the cause of their seniors.

    The Shanghai host team demonstrated its superiority by placing first in both the team total (2218.5 points) and gold medals tally (42 golds) followed by Liaoning and Guangdong. The team from Hong Kong, which made its debut in the National Games after it returned to the motherland in July 1997, was warmly welcomed at the opening ceremony. When the team marched past the rostrum, Chinese President Jiang Zemin rose and led the applause to show the special concern of the Central Government for this team. The Hong Kong athletes did their best in the competitions and placed 26th in the gold medals tally, thus opening a new chapter in China's sports history.

    Wu Shaozu, Minister in charge of the Physical Culture and Sports Commission, spoke highly of the 8th National Games. Noting that it was a high-level sports event that drew the largest number of participants and included all kinds of sports-related activities, he expressed his belief that the Games would have a great impact on the development of sports in China, and that the heartening results gained proved the effectiveness of the reforms initiated with regard to the Games competition system.

    Indeed, as a review of China's achievements in sports after the implementation of reforms and the modernization drive, the 8th National Games helped give an impetus to the promotion of the nation's cultural undertakings and socialist construction.

    The Games also attracted the attention of the foreign media. According to the information department of the organizing committee, the three major foreign new agencies -- AP, AFP and Reuters -- covered the Games from start to finish.

    In preparing for the Games, the host city launched a fitness drive among the people, organized a massive contingent of volunteers, mobilized all the resources available, and made full use of advanced science and technology to ensure the success of the Games, In this way, Shanghai has set a good example for other prospective host cities to follow in the future.  

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