China is the current powerhouse in Olympic gymnastics; winning a lot of gold medals over the years. However, its training programme has been harshly criticised for being too strict.
Children in China start to train to become gymnasts from the age of four. Before they are chosen to start training, children are tested to see if their bodies are limber enough to withstand the demands of the sport. Those that are selected, start a lifelong process of becoming the best. The Chinese government has set up a very large training facility where the children live and train. These little children have to balance a gruelling training schedule, tough school routine and also give time to their families. It can sometimes become too much for them to handle.
Spurred by dreams of national glory, many parent are very willing to subject their children to such intense lifestyle.
Some may say that putting young children under such intense training is child abuse. That is debatable, but no one can argue that such training methods haven’t paid off.