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All thoughts on quake victims as World Cup begins
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With the death toll rising to almost 15,000 yesterday, China's gymnastics boss Huang Yubin hopes to use any gold medals China wins at the World Cup to demonstrate the team's solidarity with and sympathy for people involved in the earthquake.

Elite Chinese gymnasts are in high morale at the Bank of China World Cup in Tianjin, which takes place today (qualifications took place yesterday), believing a sparkling performance will be their best way to support the quake rescue.

"We want to win gold medals here in Tianjin to show our courage in front of the devastating quake in Sichuan," Huang told a press conference. "My athletes and I were shocked after watching the news on television, I cannot tell you how depressed we are knowing our fellow countrymen are dying and suffering from life-threatening injuries.

"Chinese people have supported us for many, many years. They cheer for us and we are treated like heroes in all the places we have ever been. Now it's time for us to give back to them."

The Chinese Gymnastics Association donated one million yuan ($143,000) to relief efforts yesterday and its athletes plan to provide more donations after the tournament in Tianjin.

The event at the Tianjin Stadium will also see the Beijing Olympic Sequence Draw, which will decide the competition order of gymnastics events during the Beijing Olympics.

The World Cup is the highest-level international gymnastics event before the 2008 Beijing Olympics and gives the world's premier gymnasts a chance to warm up as they ready themselves for the August competition.

Twenty-six countries and regions are registered to compete, including traditional gymnastics powerhouses Japan, Russia and South Korea.

The Chinese men's team will be led by last year's all-around champion Yang Wei, and will feature Li Xiaopeng, Huang Xu, Xiao Qin, Chen Yibing and Zou Kai. At last year's event, the Chinese men's team walked away with gold in every event except the high bar.

"This is a good chance for us to collect information on our opponents, especially those from Japan," Yang said. "Winning a team title at the Games is our top motivation for the past years."

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