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Zou Kai concludes China's brilliant gymnastic show with horizontal bar gold
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22:19, August 19, 2008

China's Zou Kai won the horizontal bar gold medal at the Beijing Olympics on Tuesday, putting a perfect ending to the host country's brilliant gymnastic show.

China garnered a total of nine golds in the top-class gymnastic competitions, setting its best result in the discipline at one Olympic Games. It was also the first Olympic gold captured by a Chinese gymnast in horizontal bar.

Meanwhile, it was another gain in Zou's medal haul after he has won the floor exercise and the men's team titles in Beijing. That enabled Zou to equal the record set by China's gymnastic legend Li Ning of winning three golds in one Olympic Games. Li made the marvelous achievement in the Los Angelas Olympic Games in 1984.

"I am very excited and want to cry. I have practiced most in the horizontal bar as it is the weakest part for Chinese men gymnasts. I fought for the gold with my highest difficulty. It was also the first time for me to use the routine in a competition. I was nervous but finished it according to my rhyethm," said Zou after the final.

The bronze medalist, Fabian Hambuechen from Germany, told reporters, "Mistakes in previous competitions made me sad and disappointed. I am happy now."

"I chose the difficulty of 6.8, rather than 7.0 in the qualification because I thought it was strong enough. I just took forward to the next Olympics," said Hambuechen.

Before the final, Hambuechen has suffered continuous setbacks by falling off the horizontal bar twice, respectivly in the team final and the men's individual all-around final. But this time he did not let the chance slip away.

Zou ranked only the fifth in the qualification. The 20-year-old gymnast remained quite calm in the final, although reigning world champion Hambuechen as the first one to compete, impressed the judges with high-quality twists and turns on the bar.

Zou chose a routine with the difficulty zenith of 7.2 among eight finalists to show his potential in which China has been transitionally weak.

A successful execution gave Zou a score of 16.200 points, securing the leading position to the very end of the competition. Jonathan Horton from the United States got the silver by gaining 16.175 points. The bronze went to Hambuechen who garnered 15.875 points.

Japan's leading gymnast Hiroyuki Tomita staged a routine with the difficulty of 6.6, comparatively low among the eight contenders. The score of 15.225 placed him the sixth in the final.

Yann Cucherat from Fance, the silver medalist at the 2005 World Championshps in horizontal bar, fell from the bar and ranked the eighth in the final.

"I fell, I don't know why. I gave my max. It's my dream, my goal - the Olympics are amazing." said Cucherat.

Source: Xinhua

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1 China 43 14 19 76
2 USA 25 26 26 77
3 Great Britain 15 9 8 32
4 Australia 11 11 12 34
5 Germany 11 7 8 26
6 Russia 10 14 18 42
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