Minnows dream of hogging limelight

SINGAPORE, July 31, 2008 (AFP) – Powerhouse nations like China, the United States and Russia might grab all the Olympic gold medal attention but the world’s sporting minnows plan to grab at least some of the limelight. While some nations might whinge about winning dozens of medals, others will be glad of just one — and a bronze at that.

More than 80 countries competing in Beijing have never before been on the Olympic podium.

For a myriad of reasons — political, geographical, financial — their sporting prowess has never matured.

Tiny Brunei might be oil rich but when it comes to producing athletes, it is lacking big time.

The small monarchy on the island of Borneo will be competing in its fifth Summer Olympics but will inevitably go home empty-handed.

Bhutan is bigger than Brunei but remains one of the most secluded countries in the world, tucked between Asian heavyweights China and India.

Their national sport is archery — competitions are held regularly in villages throughout the monarchy — and they have an outside chance after six Games with no joy.

The Maldives, like Brunei, has a population of less than 400,000 and has similarly lacked medals.

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