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Gymnast auctions Olympic gold for reconstruction of quake-hit area
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China's Olympic champion Zou Kai announced on Friday that he would put on auction one of his three gymnastics gold medals from the Beijing Games and donate all the earnings for reconstruction of the earthquake-ravaged Sichuan province.

Zou, a Shichuan native, pulled down three gold medals in men's team, horizontal bar and floor exercise at the Beijing Olympics last month. He has decided to auction the floor exercise gold medal on Tuesday.


Zou Kai won three gold medals in men's team, horizontal bar and floor exercise at the Beijing Olympics last month.

"The floor exercise title belongs to myself, so I'd rather select this gold medal. I was born in Sichuan and I was so sad when the earthquake struck the region on May 12," said the 20-year-old.

"A lot of my townees lost their lives and a lot of houses were toppled. I'd like to share my honor from the Olympics with them and hope to do something for them.

"So I made up my mind the second day after the Olympics closed to auction one of my gold medals for the reconstruction of the earthquake-hit area," he added.

Huang Yubin, head coach of the Chinese gymnatics team, was in company of Zou at the press briefing organized by "www.titan24.com", one of China's sports website.

"I'm proud to see a member from the gymnastic team auction off his valued Olympic gold for the charity cause, especially related to the Sichuan earthquake, which was so destructive," said Huang.

Talking about plans for the London Olympics in 2012, Huang said:"it's a little bit early to deliberate on this. It's probably to see rule changes in future, so we can only sort out specific training scheme after we learn the rule revolution."

Chinese gymnasts won nine out of 14 gold medals on offer, second only to the USSR's 10 in Seoul in 1988.

Yang Yang, one of the auction organizers, said tickets to the auction party has been fully booked by enterprises and individuals.

"As a retired athlete, I'm pleased to see an Olympic champion transfer personal honor to common welfare," said Yang, China's first gold medallist in Winter Olympic Games.

"Now we've already raised some money from the charity party. The party is greatly welcomed by units and individuals," she said, adding more than 50 Olympic champions also donated personal belongings for the charity auction.

The May 12 earthquake left more than 80,000 people dead or missing, more than 10 million others homeless, and 360,000 others injured.

(Xinhua News Agency September 26, 2008)

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