10 Maret 2008
China making progress to clean air ahead of Olympics, says Rogge

Dale Gavlak Associated Press Southern Shuneh, Jordan IOC president Jacques Rogge is optimistic about China's efforts to tackle air pollution ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

Rogge said Saturday that Beijing is making big strides in clearing up its notoriously bad air quality, which has been a major concern for both the International Olympic Committee and leading athletes '. In an interview with the Associated Press, Rogge also reiterated his stance that the IOC should not be pressuring China about its human rights record, and praised the growing number of women who will compete in games.

Rogge has previously warned that some endurance events at the Olympics might. be postponed if the air quality is poor, but said he hoped much of the pollution will be cleaned up when the games start in August.

"We will see that they have made major progress," Rogge said on the sidelines of the Fourth IOC World Conference on Women and Sport.

Because of the pollution concerns, dozens of countries are basing their training camps outside China, with athletes opting to enter Beijing just before their events begin.

Some athletes, like marathon world record holder Etaile Gebrselassie, have .said they may skip the event because of health concerns.
Rogge pointed to Chinese measures that include switching from coal to gas energy,

closing 10 percent of its gas stations, shutting down polluting steel mills and planting millions of trees between the Gobi Desert and Beijing.

The conference in Jordan focused on boosting women's participation in the Olympics and other sporting events, and Rogge said he was pleased that more female athletes than ever will compete in the Beijing Games. Some 45-percent of the 10,500 participants almost 5,000
will be women.
"It's much more than in the past," Rogge said.

Rogge also revealed the winners of the 2008 Women and Sport Trophy, which included overall winner Datuk Seri Avalina Othman Said from Malaysia, Abby Hoffman of Canada and Lingwei Li of China.

Source : The Jakarta Post, Page : 21 

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