Chinese gymnast Yang eyeing Olympic gold

July 23rd, 2008 - 6:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, July 23 (Xinhua) Chinese Yang Wei has the most decorated record in Asian Games gymnastics history and is now looking to leave his Athens heartbreak behind and deliver the home crowd a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics this August. All eyes will be on him, the best men’s all-around gymnast in the last two World Championships, as the hosts are expected to make the most of their home advantage in Beijing against challenges from super powers the US, Japan, Russia and Romania.

He will be on the level of Paul Hamm of the US, Hiroyuki Tomita of Japan and Fabian Hambuechen of Germany - all looking to make the biggest runs at the most-coveted individual title in Beijing.

With the home crowd’s backing, Yang is confident to banish his Olympic disappointment and top the podium.

“To compete on home turf, you surely have great pressure, and I think I can turn the pressure into the motivation. Whatever happens, I’m going for the gold in Beijing,” said Yang.

The 28-year-old veteran has eight World Championship golds and was part of the team that won the gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 but has struggled to produce an Olympic individual gold.

He was so near yet so far to the all-around title in the 2004 Games, leading the field after five apparatus but suddenly crashing out of medal contention with a fall from the final apparatus high bar.

Yang finished seventh and Hamm was handed a dramatic victory due to a judge’s miscalculation.

Yang declared his comeback in the past two years.

He reached the peak in 2006 as he claimed the parallel, all-around and men’s team titles in the Arhus Championship. And the next year, Yang overcame another spectacular fall from the high bar to win a second straight world all-around title in Stuttgart.

“The parallel gold medal in 2006 is the first world title I won in individual events,” said Yang. “It was more than a gold medal. It gave me great confidence when I am facing the Olympics in Beijing.”

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