Taiwan to invest 1 billon dollars to prepare for 2012 Olympics

Taiwan to invest 1 billon dollars to prepare for 2012 Olympics Taipei - After a poor showing at the Beijing Olympics Taiwan plans to spend at least 1 billion Taiwan dollars (32 million US dollars) to prepare for the 2012 London Olympics, a newspaper said Thursday.

The Sports Affairs Council (SAC) proposed spending 1 billion on a preparatory programme as part of its 2008 budget, which was submitted to the legislature Wednesday, the Taipei Times said.

Apart from the London Olympics budget, SAC also proposed spending 5.6 billion Taiwan dollars in 2009 on increasing the general public's participation in sports, reinforcing training for athletes, building sports facilities and bidding to host international events and to join international sports organizations.

The council plans to build 10 sports centres in 2008 to help realize President Ma Ying-jeou's promise of building 70 sports centres during his four-year term.

Taiwan sent 80 athletes to the Beijing Olympics. They took part in 15 events but won only four bronze medals, two in taekwondo and two in weightlifting, the worst showing since 1988.

Taiwan had been hoping to win seven golds, or at least repeating its record from the 2004 Athens Olympics, when it won two gold, two silver and one bronze. (dpa)