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IOC President Pleased With Olympic Preparations


International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge says he is happy about preparations for the Beijing Olympics. His comments came Friday, after the IOC's last meeting in the Chinese capital before the August games. VOA's Stephanie Ho reports.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said he had "very good discussions" with officials at the Beijing Olympic organizing committee (BOCOG).

"Preparations are in the final stretch. There are still 10 test events to be held. There are, here or there, small details to be fine-tuned. But I'm saying that the level of preparedness of BOCOG is really excellent, and we are very happy about the proceedings," he said.

Rogge had what he described as a "very useful" meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday. He said the dialogue was "frank, open and candid," but he gave no details on what the two discussed.

As Olympic host, China has come under sharp and growing criticism for a wide range of issues, from Chinese repression in Tibet to Beijing's closeness to the internationally unpopular government of Sudan.

Protesters have targeted the Olympic torch relay, which is on a worldwide tour before returning to China in May. In London and Paris, anti-China demonstrators clashed with security forces guarding the flame.

Rogge said it is the worldwide importance of the games that is the source of so much negative attention.

"Today I am quite sure I can say that no one is attacking the games. Some are using the games," he added.

At his final news conference, Rogge was asked his opinion of a possible boycott of the Olympic opening ceremony.

"We would obviously prefer that politicians would not talk about boycott," he said. "That goes without saying. But I'm saying there will be no boycott on the sporting side, because we've now assured the unity of the entire Olympic movement. This week, the sports movement says no to a boycott," said Rogge.

He said the IOC will not intervene in any politician's individual decision about whether or not to come to the Olympics. But he says he feels the biggest victims will be the competing athletes, who may not have their own national leaders present to applaud them.

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