A sports official said China does not expect to top the medal tables at next year's Olympics in Beijing, the South China Morning Post reported. Deputy Minister of Sport Cui Dalin said that a careful analysis of entering athletes had revealed that China faces an uphill battle in 2008. "American and Russia are stronger, especially in athletics, swimming and water sports," Cui said, throwing cold water on the hopes that China could top the medal tables for the first time in history. The Sports Ministry's analysis reportedly revealed weaknesses in China's team sports and water sports squads for 2008 and called for new programs to improve competitiveness. Cui told reporters that China should focus on competing with Japan, Germany, Australia and France instead of competing with historical powers Russia and the USA.