China: Around The Nation

Cruel or cool? Seven-year-old with a six-pack sparks debate in China

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 12:58pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 12:58pm

A seven-year-old boy from eastern China has sparked a debate online after pictures were posted of him sporting a six-pack.

The photographs of Chen Yi’s muscular stomach were circulated online after he won medals in gymnastics at a city sporting event in Hangzhou in Zhejiang province.

Some internet users praised his commitment to training while others said he was too young to be pushed so hard.

Chen won six gold medals and one silver in the city’s sports meeting on Sunday, cutting his teeth as a gymnast after two years of hard training, according to the news website

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Chen’s mother, Zhang Hongyu , was quoted as saying she was delighted he had done so well in his first sports event. “My son said he wanted to get many gold medals in the future and buy cars and apartments for his dad and me,” she said.

She said she spotted his talent when he was still an infant.

“When doctors wanted to test his agility when he was a newborn, he immediately pulled his feet back after his soles were scratched. Even the doctors did not expect the speed of a baby’s reaction could be that quick.”

Zhang said her son started to walk when he was only 11 months old and could do a pull-up with one arm when he was two.

Chen has been training at a local gymnastics school since he was five after he was selected by a coach. Zhang said her son’s training was tough and intensive, but she supported him as he loved the sport.

Another photograph showing Chen doing Parkour — athletic leaps and jumps — on the street were circulated two months before the sports event, attracting the attention of many fitness enthusiasts.

“You don’t know how hard his training was to get those abs,” one person commented.

Another, however, expressed concern over how his training was affecting his body: “Working out at such an early age may cause malnutrition and make him a dwarf as he is growing !”

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Chen’s mother said her son did not have a special training diet, but she prepared dumplings for him every weekend when he comes home from gymnastics school.

“Normally he can eat 13 dumplings for a meal, he doesn’t eat a lot,” she was quoted as saying.