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October 15, 2009

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Yuan rocks China with IOC claims

CHINA'S former sports minister claims in his memoir that a senior Chinese executive at the International Olympic Committee played negative role during the country's bid for the 2008 Games.

Yuan Weimin, who served China's sports industry for 47 years, implied He Zhenliang voted for Un Yong Kim from South Korea as then-IOC chairman Juan Antonio Samaranch's successor instead of Jacques Rogge, supported by Europe and China.

Though Yuan didn't disclose the name of the Chinese executive in his book, He was the only logical choice.

Yuan said He's decision on March 2, 2001, during the election in Moscow for new IOC Chairman and the host city for XXIX Olympic Games made Beijing's job to win host city more difficult as it could have led to negative response by IOC executives from European countries.

Beijing's plan then was to support Rogge in exchange for Europe's support of Beijing.

However, He, for unidentified reasons, voted and lobbied for Kim initially, according to the book, published on Sunday.

He denied Yuan's charges when questioned by a reporter from Xinmin Weekly.

"It was a secret vote and no one knew who I voted for," He said.

Yuan also said in his book that He reluctantly supported Yu Zaiqing, another senior sports official from China, to succeed his IOC position.

Yuan's book has shocked the country as it also disclosed most members of an athletic team led by Chinese super coach Ma Junren failed domestic doping tests ahead of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Yuan didn't specifically name Ma and his team but the implication was clear.

Yuan said he did not accept some senior officials' advice to run new tests.

Yuan also defended himself in the book over the accusation of misuse of state Olympic funds by state auditors in 2004.

Yuan said the 109 million yuan (US$15.97 million) spent on apartment buildings for the country's sports staff was not a special allocation for Beijing Olympics' use only but mainly surplus from prizes won by Chinese athletes over a decade.

Yuan was introduced to the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2007 over his coaching.


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