Italy topped the medals table at the end of the Mediterranean Games in Pescara yeterday after 11 days of record-breaking performances and attendances.

The hosts ended up with 176 medals across the 29 sports, well ahead of second-placed France on 140, while they also took the most golds with a total of 64.

Italian swimmer Federica Pellegrini gave the Games, little known outside the region, some publicity by reclaiming the world record in the 400 metres freestyle before Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer Faber smashed the men's 100 backstroke world record.

The four-yearly event brought together over 4,000 competitors, a record for the Games, from 23 countries linked to the Mediterranean.

Organisers, whose preparations were held up by April's earthquake close to Pescara which killed nearly 300 people, said crowd numbers had also been at record levels.

"The most beautiful medal has been won by the public," Games chief Mario Pescante told reporters.

Greek weightlifting was hit by another doping scandal with Nikos Kourtidis, who won two golds in the men's 94-kg category, and Konstantina Lapou, who took silver in the women's 58-kg, failing tests which took place before the Games began.

The 2013 event will be held in Volos, Greece where baseball and softball could be added to the list of sports.

Officials hope Israel and a Palestinian team can compete next time.

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