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Germany want repeat of Vancouver medal haul in Sochi

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany want to repeat their successes in Vancouver four years ago when their athletes compete at the Sochi Winter Olympics next month.

The country finished in the top three in the medals table in 2010 along with Canada and the United States.

"Our aim is again to win at least 30 medals like Vancouver or even to exceed that," German Olympic sports confederation general secretary Michael Vesper told reporters on Tuesday. "We want to be on the podium in the final medals count.

"It will certainly be no easy task but we will fight for it. It is an ambitious target but our federations are well positioned and our athletes fully motivated."

Vesper said he was confident Russian authorities would offer maximum security despite recent suicide bombings in Volgograd.

The Games open on February 7 in the Black Sea resort on the western edge of the Caucasus mountains where insurgents want to carve out an Islamic state.

Russian forces have gone on combat alert this week in Sochi and around 37,000 personnel are now in place to provide security at the Olympics.

The Germans, expected to send a team of 160-plus athletes to the first Winter Games to be held in Russia, are a traditional powerhouse with a wide range of medal contenders in almost every sport.

Luger Felix Loch, Alpine skier Maria Hoefl-Riesch and figure skaters Aljona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy are among their big-name athletes.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Tony Jimenez)

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