17 Jul '11, 9am

From world champion to street performer

From world champion to street performer

Zhang Shangwu, holding his gymnastics medals. -- PHOTO: THE DAILY CHILLI A FORMER gymnastics world champion has been spotted performing on the streets of Beijing for money. Zhang Shangwu, an ex-member of the China national team,has been performing gymnastic stunts at Wangfujing Metro Station, making some 30 yuan (S$5.67) a day. He moves from one place to another and is constantly chased away by security guards. 'I know nothing but gymnastics, I can only use this talent to make a living,' he said, adding he still has to take care of his critically ill grandfather. The 27-year-old's ordeal has put the plight of retired athletes struggling with poverty, injury and joblessness under the spotlight. Zhang was sent to an amateur sports school in Baoding of Hebei province in 1988, when he was only five. At 12, he was selected into the national gymnastics team. At 2001 Summer Unive...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Sport/Story/STIS...

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