MACAU are confident of making their Olympic Games debut in Atlanta in 1996 after talks with International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch in Shanghai. Samaranch, who was in Shanghai as the guest of honour of the East Asian Games organising committee, met three members of the Macau Olympic Committee to discuss their application to join the IOC. Macau first applied for membership in 1987 but have not been successful, despite the fact they belong to the Olympic Council of Asia and have the support of both China and Portugal in their attempts to join the IOC. After a 20-minute meeting with Samaranch and IOC vice-president He Zhenliang, the president of the Chinese Olympic Committee, Macau's officials were told the matter would be resolved, one way or the other, at the September meeting of the IOC executive board in Monte Carlo. But Manuel Silverio, the second vice-president of the Macau Olympic Committee and chef de mission of their 109-strong East Asian Games delegation in Shanghai, is more confident than ever that their efforts will be successful. ''We have a dream of taking part in the Olympic Games and that dream is closer to becoming reality,'' said Silverio. ''The fact that Samaranch took the time to meet us is a very positive sign. ''The IOC have always been helpful in advising us on our application and now they say we fulfil all the requirements of the IOC charter. The officials expect to receive further correspondence from the IOC in around two months' time - but the Portuguese enclave is one of 20 countries or regions applying for IOC membership. Silverio said: ''If we are not allowed into the IOC it would be really bad for sports development.'' Macau will transfer to China on December 20, 1999 but will remain an autonomous sporting body for the following 50 years. Macau made their debut as an Olympic committee at the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing, winning a bronze medal in wushu, and their appearance in Shanghai is their second among fellow members of the Olympic Council of Asia.