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26 Mar, 2010 21:20

Olympic flags travel to next Winter Games venue, Sochi

The Olympic and Paralympic flags have arrived from Vancouver to Russia's southern city of Sochi, which is taking over the Olympic baton and preparing to host the winter games in 2014.

Russia's leading athletes have carried the Olympic symbols in a triumphant march across the city.

But it is not just about jubilation in Sochi, as it also saw the arrival of Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev.

At a meeting with the country’s sporting officials the President raised the painful issue of Russia's poor performance at the games in Vancouver.

Medvedev called for them to analyze their mistakes and tackle the main challenges Russia faces during preparations for Sochi Winter Games in 2014.

At the meeting, Medvedev recalled that he had instructed the Audit Chamber to probe into whether the funds disbursed from the federal budget for sports had been spent effectively enough.

"This concerns the funds that were invested into federations,"
the president said, adding that the spending must be "sensible and transparent."

"It somehow happens that getting money from the state is all right, but when it comes to responsibility for results and the appointment of officials, we wish to be independent," Medvedev stressed.

"Yours are jobs where one is to work really hard, and not just sit on one's hands. It is a position not for someone who likes to make foreign voyages, but for those who excel at work 24 hours a day," Medvedev said, addressing the current and future chiefs of sports federations.

"Another important task is raising Russia's influence in international sports organizations. Our current capabilities leave no chance for us to advance properly and protect the interests of our athletes. We have been witnesses to this many a time of late. It is extremely important to have full-scale participation in the development of international regulatory documents and sports rules," Medvedev stated.

Right after the Vancouver games, President Medvedev lashed out at Russia’s top sporting officials, saying the Winter Olympic Games had revealed flaws in the training system which must be addressed before Sochi 2014.

Dmitry Medvedev called for the resignation of all officials responsible for Russia’s dismal performance at the Games. Russia’s Olympic Committee head, Leonid Tyagachev resigned shortly thereafter.