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    PUTIN: ATTITUDE TO SPORTS AND ATHLETES MUST BE TAKEN TO NEW LEVEL

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    MOSCOW, March 10, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Vladimir Putin believes it necessary to pay more attention to development of sports in the country on the whole and not in separate regions.

    "We need to improve the attitude toward sports in the country on the whole, take it to a qualitatively new level," the Russian president said at a meeting with Olympic Games athletes.

    Vladimir Putin cited the Moscow region as an example. In the president's words, a large number of sports facilities have been built there for two years.

    "Rich regions can afford it. One must think about it," he continued.

    In his words, developing sport in the country is possible also due to expansion of the geography of competitions on all levels.

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