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Eyesight no problem for German's Beijing dreams
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08:29, December 07, 2007

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At the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Fabian Hambuchen lost all three pairs of his contact lenses and had to wear glasses to compete in the gymnastics events.

But the newly crowned horizontal bar world champion has moved beyond that unpleasant experience and is now eyeing success at next year's Olympic Games, where he says his poor vision won't be a problem.

"For me, seeing clearly is not very important because I have good feeling and I try to know where I am," said the 20-year-old German. "Of course it's better if you can see very well, but it doesn't matter if I cannot see anything."

Hambuchen was the youngest German athlete at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, where he finished seventh on the horizontal bar and eighth in the team competition.

"I have already gotten used to the contact lenses. I am using my ears rather than using my eyes to grip the rhythm of the competition," he said.

The 2007 World Championships saw his breakthrough onto the world stage. He won the gold medal in horizontal bar, silver in all-around and bronze in team.

He credits his strong mind for his success and hopes it will lead him to the podium in Beijing.

"My strongest point is that I'm not that nervous in the competitions and I'm mentally good," he said. "My goal is just to do my best, to stay healthy, and it will be very good to catch a couple of finals."

Hambuchen feels confident in his mental strength, but his physical strength is an area he feels he needs to improve before he is ready for the Games.

"I have to get stronger, not only on rings, but all apparatuses," he said. "I will try to do everything perfect and do the movements good and clean."

Hambuchen, who started gymnastics at the age of five, comes from a family of gymnasts - his father and brother are both gymnasts and his father is his coach as well. He says he was born to be a gymnast.

"I was born in the gym I think I have no other chance instead of gymnastics, but I love gymnastics and I think it is the only sport I would like to do," he said.

"I like everything about gymnastics, such as the feeling to fly and the feeling to have such power to be strong. Gymnastics is really a nice feeling. It's my life."

Having just graduated from high school, Hambuchen will delay his plans for university until after the Beijing Games. He hopes to maintain his form for at least the next 10 years.

"My dream is to get four Olympic Games, so that means I'll try to go until 2016," he said.

Source: China Daily

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