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French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday he hoped the 2024 Paris Olympics would give a huge boost to participation in sports in France.

“The aim is not simply to get medals, it will be to put sport at the heart of the nation,” Macron said, as he visited Olympic building sites and existing sports facilities in northern Paris.

Macron said €200 million ($232 million) of funding would be made available to create up to 5,000 new sports facilities for public use by the time of the Games.

Macron, who is widely expected to seek re-election next year, was criticized for comments he made after this year’s Tokyo Olympics when he urged French competitors to win “many more” medals in 2024 than the 33 they won in Japan.

That haul, which included 10 gold medals, was nine fewer than France won at the 2016 Rio Games.

The president says France should aim to finish among the top five nations in the medal table at the Paris Olympics — in Tokyo France was eighth in gold medals but tenth in total medals won.

“We took stock and went again,”he said. “That is what every coach does every day with their team, it’s what high-level sport is all about. I didn’t see many athletes shaken by what I said.”

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