Central European, Balkan, Athletes Dream of Glory in Beijing

With the winter Olympics in Beijing around the corner, athletes have already flown to the Chinese capital where they will compete under the five interlaced rings, symbol of the International Olympic Committee.

In total, 2871 athletes 1,581 men and 1,290 women will compete over the 16 days of the games from February 4 to February 20. Central and Southeast European competitors will be among the athletes hoping for medals.

Montenegro bets on 'unpredictable' skiing

Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic and athlete Eldar Salihovic. Photo: Montenegrin Olympic Committee

Jelena Vujicic, Eldar Salihovic and Aleksandar Grbovic will make up the team of three Montenegrin skiers competing in slalom, giant slalom and three cross-country disciplines.

Montenegro is fielding the same number of competitors as it did four years ago. The athletes have been preparing since July.

"They will give their best in Beijing. The most important thing is that the gap behind the best is not too big, as skiing is an unpredictable sport, which depends on the condition of the track and the weather," Grbovic said on January 18.

With seven participants in four sports, Turkey will try to better its poor winter Olympics record; it last won medals in 1936. One man and one woman will compete in alpine skiing while one man and two women will race in cross-country skiing.

Turkey is also competing in short track speed skating and ski jumping.

"We've had difficult times. I would like to thank my family and our federation for being with me. I want to return with good results," Furkan Akar, Turkey's representative in short track speed skating, said in his hometown of Erzurum on January 26 before he left for Beijing.

Romania sees its team...

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