Chinese coach cancels suicide plan after team gets gold

August 12th, 2008 - 3:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 12 (DPA) Coach Huang Xu was a relieved man Tuesday as China powered its way to the gold medal in the men’s artistic gymnastics team event at the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing. Huang had promised to throw himself off one of the countless high-rise buildings situated in the Chinese capital if his team didn’t make up for the disappointment of failing to get a medal in Athens by winning on home soil but was spared the fate thanks to a superb performance by the China team.

The host nation finished well clear of the rest of the eight-man field with a winning points total of 286.125 for the six disciplines.

Olympic champion Japan finished a distant second on 278.875, while the US beat off the challenge of Germany to take bronze thanks to a score of 275.850.

“Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to stay here,” Huang joked with his team. “I also won’t worry about the grey hair I have after four years of worry and nightmares about winning the gold medal.”

Huang took over the team in 2006 when it was at a low ebb after failing to defend its Olympic title two years earlier.

But in 2008, the six-man group of Chen Yibing, Huang Xu, Li Xiaopeng, Xiao Qin, world champion Yang Wei and Zou Kai was irresistible.

“We have gone through a very painful exercise. After his failure in Athens, Yang even considered retiring,” said Huang.

“When I took up the team in 2006 I encountered many obstacles. I spent every day encouraging them and they gave their all.”

But the hard work paid off as five gold medals came at the world championships in Stuttgart in 2007, followed now by gold in Beijing.

“We are in China, host country for the Olympic Games, and we have had a great start,” said Huang.

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