Chinese veteran gymnast Li Xiaopeng gives up vault at Olympics

2008-07-27 12:41:07 GMT       2008-07-27 20:41:07 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

BEIJING, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Chinese gymnastics ace Li Xiaopeng will not compete in his specialty vault at the Beijing Olympic Games starting on August 8th.

He confirmed on Sunday his absence from vault, due to his unsatisfactory second maneuver, when moving into the Olympic village with the Chinese delegation.

"Delayed by my foot injury, my second vault hasn't been fully developed," he said.

"It's dangerous to still try it in this situation. I have to give up to avoid a recurring injury."

But the Sydney double Olympic champion will be one of the three members to perform on vault in men's team competition which requires only one vault instead of two, according to China's head coach Huang Yubin.

He also said Li still had good chance for an individual title on parallel bars and could help the team regain the Olympic title they surrendered to Japan four years ago in Athens.

Li was part of the Chinese Olympic champion team in the 2000 Sydney Games and also won an individual gold on parallel bars there, but after the Athens Games, he stayed away from gymnastics arena for more than two years, receiving a foot operation.

He made a successful return last year but, with only a bit more than one year left before the Beijing Olympics, it was too hard for him to develop a new second vault in accordance with the new rule.

The world champion-packed Chinese team, widely deemed as favorites, are looking to a medal haul on home soil.

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