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China vows an end to gold medal 'obsession'

Updated: 2015-01-26 15:25
By Wang Zhaokun (chinadaily.com.cn)
China vows an end to gold medal 'obsession'

Former Chinese gymnastics world champion Zhang Shangwu shows his medals on the street in Beijing, 15 July 2011. Zhang, a gold-medal winner at the 2001 Beijing Universiade, retired because of injuries and later started busking in Beijing. [Photo/IC]

The General Administration of Sport of China (GASC) is to launch bold reforms of the country's sports system, vowing to drop the old "gold-is-everything" mentality.

The changes are part of a "rectification report" made by the GASC after the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the country's top anti-graft agency, discovered a number of malpractice cases and principle violations caused by the body's centralized bureaucracy.

GASC said it had conducted in-depth discussions and rethinking of "the perverted obsession over gold medals".

Single-minded pursuit of gold medals, even at the cost of violating laws, harms national interests, sabotages sports development and runs counter to sportsmanship, it said.

Awards to provinces whose athletes win Olympic and Asian Games gold medals are to be scrapped as it the ranking of provinces and cities by golds won at National Games.

The "gold medal rush" has been partly driven by the current system in which officials are evaluated according to Olympic, Asian Games and National Games results.

The system has been under public scrutiny in recent years with many calling for reforms to make sports more enjoyable and the masses increasingly involved.

GASC also pledged to make sporting event bidding and approval, athlete recruitment and referee appointments open and transparent.

Following its investigations late last year, the CCDI cautioned that "problems such as match-fixing and cheating remain severe".

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