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EU hails Beijing athletes

world Updated: Aug 24, 2008 20:09 IST
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The European Commission on Sunday hailed the success of European athletes at the Beijing Games and looked forward to the games returning, in London 20I2, to "the continent where they were born".

European Culture and Youth Commissioner Jan Figel, whose brief includes sport, said the Beijing Games had "provided Europe's athletes with yet another opportunity to show themselves at their best, and they have certainly not disappointed their millions of supporters."

"European athletes have not only delivered excellence in competitions, as testified in the individual achievements of each participating countries, but they have also demonstrated that team work and fair play are key values to the sporting community of our Continent, and to all Europeans," Figel said in a statement.

He voiced confidence that "we are well prepared for the next Olympics.

"Let us not forget that the Games will be back in 2012, on the continent where they were born." Both the ancient and the modern Olympics have their home in Athens.

"All sporting friends within the EU are already looking forward to the 2012 Games in London," said Figel.

Britain headed the EU nations' medal table with 19 gold medals, followed by Germany with 16 and Italy with eight.

The ranks of EU athletes were boosted in Beijing by Romania, which picked yp four gold medals, and Bulgaria which won one in their first games since joining the European Union last year.