Wed, August 06, 2008
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Interview: Putin wishes Beijing Olympics great success

2008-08-06 08:01:03 GMT2008-08-06 16:01:03 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has spoken highly of China's preparations for the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games and wished the Games a complete success during a recent interview in Moscow with Xinhua News Agency and People's Daily before the opening of Beijing Olympic Games.(Xinhua Photo)

MOSCOW, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has spoken highly of China's preparations for the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games and wished the Games a complete success.

"I'd like to express gratitude and pay great tribute to the host -- our Chinese friends. I know China has made great efforts in preparing for the Games to fulfill its pledges for Olympics of the highest level," Putin said in a recent written interview with Xinhua.

The prime minister thanked Chinese President Hu Jintao for inviting him to the opening ceremony of the Games, saying he will definitely be present.

Putin condemned attempts to politicize the Olympics, describing them as "trampling on the Olympic spirit." "The Olympics are competitions for athletes, not for countries," Putin said, citing Pierre de Coubertin, known as the father of the modern Olympics.

Noting the basic Olympic values of international solidarity, common understanding and cooperation, Putin said distrust and conflict were against the Olympic spirit.

The Olympics in the first place are grand sports gatherings and their importance, entertainment and influence on people across the world are beyond the reach of any other sports event, Putin said.

Russia fully supports the Beijing Olympics, he said, recalling that Russia was among the first to share the joy with China when Beijing won the right to host the 2008 Olympics seven years ago in Moscow.

China's experience in organization, technology and information support for such a big sports event is also "crucial, interesting and beneficial" for Russia, he added.

Putin expected the Russian team to make unprecedented achievements and "write down a brilliant and unforgettable chapter" in Beijing.

However, he refrained from predicting the number of medals Russian athletes could possibly garner at the Beijing Games, citing an ancient Chinese philosopher Laozi(570-490 bc), who said "People who think too much of themselves won't excel."

"Experts say we have good chances in rhythmic gymnastics, wrestling, tennis, boxing, track and field, shooting, synchronized swimming and judo," he said instead.

As for himself, Putin said sports, which have helped him keep fit and gain an inner balance, did a lot in shaping his personality. He believed that every sport is good in some aspects and everyone can pick up one that suits him- or herself.

Talking about judo and skiing, which he favors and is good at, Putin said judo is a physical and mental exercise. It develops one's strength, reaction and endurance, educates one about self-control and observation, and requires sustained self-perfection, which he said are qualities indispensable for politicians.

Putin praised highly the Chinese-Russian relationship and expressed confidence that bilateral relations would continue developing rapidly and bringing benefits to their two peoples.

"Russia and China have a unique mechanism of regular meetings between their premiers, which is conducive to finding coordinated solutions to problems and achieving win-win results," Putin said.

Efforts to consolidate cultural and trade cooperation are an indispensable extension of the Russia-China political dialogue of mutual trust, he said, adding that events during the reciprocal national years in Russia and China showed broad prospects for continuing the dialogue, consolidating the economic and trade links and enhancing friendship and mutual trust.

Some of the interesting activities during the national years, such as seminars, trade fairs, cultural festivals and sports events, will be held again in the future, said Putin.

The two sides are planning to host the "Year of the Russian Language" in China and the "Year of the Chinese Language" in Russia. Young people are most welcome to the events, as they will pass the Sino-Russian friendship to the new generation, he said.

On the massive earthquake that hit southwest China in May, Putin said it is necessary to "give our helping hand to the Chinese." A total of 1,000 children in the affected area would come to Russia for rehabilitation this year.

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