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Torture or training?

 Mix1312-01

 

Torture or training? Inside the brutal Chinese gymnasium where the country's future Olympic stars are beaten into shape

  • Nanning Gymnasium in Nanning, China, is one of many ruthless training camps in China
  • Here children, some as young as five, battle to complete the demanding routines on bars, rings, and mats

 

Her face etched with pain, a child trains for Olympic glory while her gymnastics trainer stands on her legs.

The cartoon space rockets and animal astronauts on her tiny red leotard are a stark and powerful reminder of this little girl's tender age as she trains as hard as any adult athlete in the Western world.

Nanning Gymnasium in Nanning, China, is one of many ruthless training camps across the country to which parents send their children to learn how to be champions.

Hard training: Her face etched with pain, a child trains for Olympic glory while her gymnastics trainer stands on her legs.

Hard training: Her face etched with pain, a child trains for Olympic glory while her gymnastics trainer stands on her legs.

But while training techniques appear extreme to Western eyes, they provide an insight into why China's athletes at London 2012 seem so easily able to swim, dive, lift and shoot their way to victory.

Gymnastic stars are known for starting at an incredibly early age, and this group of children appear no different as they battled to complete the demanding routines on bars, rings, and mats 

Boys and girls who looked no older than five or six-years-old were tasked with swinging on beams, hanging from pairs of rings and bounding across floor mats during the physically strenuous training sessions.

Ruthless: Boys and girls who looked no older than five or six-years-old were tasked with swinging on beams, hanging from pairs of rings and bounding across floor mats during the physically strenuous training sessions

Ruthless: Boys and girls who looked no older than five or six-years-old were tasked with swinging on beams, hanging from pairs of rings and bounding across floor mats during the physically strenuous training sessions

Growing strong: Nanning Gymnasium in Nanning, China, is one of many ruthless training camps across the country to which parents send their children to learn how to be champions

Growing strong: Nanning Gymnasium in Nanning, China, is one of many ruthless training camps across the country to which parents send their children to learn how to be champions

 

 

Ruthless: Nanning Gymnasium in Nanning, China, is one of many ruthless training camps across the country to which parents send their children to learn how to be champions
Gymnastic stars are known for starting at an incredibly early age, and this group of children appear no different as they battled to complete the demanding routines on bars, rings, and mats.

Going for gold: While training techniques appear extreme to Western eyes, they provide an insight into why China's athletes at London 2012 seem so easily able to swim, dive, lift and shoot their way to victory

 

 

Stretchy: Gymnastic stars are known for starting at an incredibly early age, and this group of children appear no different as they battled to complete the demanding routines on bars, rings, and mats

Stretchy: Gymnastic stars are known for starting at an incredibly early age, and this group of children appear no different as they battled to complete the demanding routines on bars, rings, and mats

The youngsters at the same training school will be hoping to emulate the success of 16-year-old swimming sensation Ye Shewin, who glided into the record books on Saturday night.

Only last January harrowing photographs were posted on the internet showing Chinese children crying in pain as they were put to work.

In case they had forgotten why they were there, a large sign on the wall reminded them. ‘GOLD’ it said simply.

Charges are often taught by rote that their mission in life is to beat the Americans and all-comers to the top of the podium.

24/7 routine: A child stretches at home during a gymnastics training session in Nanning, China

24/7 routine: A child stretches at home during a gymnastics training session in Nanning, China

 

 A child stretches during a gymnastics training session at Nanning Gymnasium in Nanning, China.
 A child stretches during a gymnastics training session at Nanning Gymnasium in Nanning, China.

To the top: Charges are often taught by rote that their mission in life is to beat the Americans and all-comers to the top of the podium

 

No nonsense: The trainers are tough on the children who go through rigorous training schedules

No nonsense: The trainers are tough on the children who go through rigorous training schedules

 

Home time: Children wait for their parents after completing a gymnastics training session in Nanning

Home time: Children wait for their parents after completing a gymnastics training session in Nanning