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Yang fails to break Chinese medal drought

Pritha Sarkar | August 19, 2004 10:19 IST

Yang Wei was left with a familiar sinking feeling after his Olympic all-round hopes came crashing down on Wednesday, leaving China without a gymnastics medal after five days of competition at the Athens Games.

Yang had arrived in Athens as the favourite for the individual crown but his title hopes evaporated the moment he lost his grip on the horizontal bar.

"I even don't know how that error occurred," said Yang, who easily led the field of 24 competitors before the mistake left him to finish in seventh place.

"I have to rethink about it later. But the spirit of our whole team still exists. That is the most important thing."

Despite Yang's optimism and China's success in other sports, the spirit of his team must be at an all-time low.

Not only were they dethroned as men's team champions by neighbours Japan, they have failed to get a medal in any of the three finals contested in the Greek capital so far.

Yang had hoped to heal bruised Chinese pride in the all-round competition on Wednesday and for more than an hour, things went according to plan.

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His main rival, American Paul Hamm, had fallen over on the vault, leaving the way clear for Yang to win the medal that had narrowly eluded him four years ago.

But instead of Yang becoming only the second Chinese man to win the most coveted individual prize in gymnastics, it was Hamm who rode a wave of emotion to make a stirring comeback and snatch victory with his daring routine on the horizontal bar.

Yang Wei was left with a familiar sinking feeling after his Olympic all-round hopes came crashing down on Wednesday, leaving China without a gymnastics medal after five days of competition at the Athens Games.

Yang had arrived in Athens as the favourite for the individual crown but his title hopes evaporated the moment he lost his grip on the horizontal bar.

"I even don't know how that error occurred," said Yang, who easily led the field of 24 competitors before the mistake left him to finish in seventh place.

"I have to rethink about it later. But the spirit of our whole team still exists. That is the most important thing."

Despite Yang's optimism and China's success in other sports, the spirit of his team must be at an all-time low.

Not only were they dethroned as men's team champions by neighbours Japan, they have failed to get a medal in any of the three finals contested in the Greek capital so far.

Yang had hoped to heal bruised Chinese pride in the all-round competition on Wednesday.

His main rival, American Paul Hamm, had fallen over on the vault, leaving the way clear for Yang to win the medal that had narrowly eluded him four years ago.

But instead of Yang becoming only the second Chinese man to win the most coveted individual prize in gymnastics, it was Hamm who rode a wave of emotion to make a stirring comeback and snatch victory with his daring routine on the horizontal bar.


Athens 2004: The Complete Coverage

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