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'IOC has no regrets over choosing Beijing'

London, Oct 30: International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge has no regrets over Beijing being chosen to host the 2008 Games despite criticism from human rights campaigners.

Rogge said he respected groups for highlighting issues such as the ongoing war in Darfur where 200,000 people are estimated to have died and the recent military crackdown in Myanmar, but that the IOC could not be blamed.

''I respect them (human rights groups) for what they're doing. It is absolutely legitimate that they get the most from the Olympics,'' Rogge told BBC Sport.

''But where they make an error is to criticise the IOC for not solving the problems.

''Why would we be able to succeed where generations of heads of state and governments who have come to Beijing have not succeeded? We are a sports organisation -- there are limits to what we can do.'' China has been criticised for supplying arms to the Sudanese government which has waged a brutal war on Darfuri rebels since 2003. Beijing has also continued to support the military regime in Myanmar where recent pro-democracy demonstrations were crushed.

''Of course we are in favour of human rights, and we've proven that many times in the past,'' added Rogge.

''But don't expect from the IOC what the IOC cannot do. The Games will contribute but the Games will not solve all the problems of the world.

''We gave the Games to a country that represents one fifth of mankind. We gave the Games to a country that will change, that is changing. We have no regrets.'' Rogge said that since being awarded the Games, China's judiciary and media had undergone reforms while it was also trying to improve its record on child labour.


Story first published: Tuesday, October 30, 2007, 17:43 [IST]
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