US, Europe still ahead of Asia, says Rogge

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 March, 2009, 12:00am

Asian athletes were making giant strides on the international stage but were unlikely to topple the traditional superpowers at the London Games in 2012, International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said yesterday.

China won the most gold medals at last year's Beijing Games, but the United States won the most medals overall, with many others going to European countries.

'Asia is on the rise and this was confirmed in Beijing,' said Rogge, who is in Kuwait for the Sports Congress hosted by the Olympic Council of Asia. 'But Asia is not yet dominating the sporting landscape. Europe has still won the most number of Olympic medals by far, although this is due to historical reasons.'

Rogge also gave his full backing to the inaugural Youth Olympics, which will be held in Singapore next year.

'We will have only 3,000 athletes at the Youth Games compared with the 10,000 at the Olympic Games,' said Rogge. 'But the philosophy is the same. We want to teach these young athletes a healthy lifestyle, prevent the advent of a doping culture, nurture respect for the environment and respect for each other and the Olympic values.'