Hang in there: How children as young as four are stretched in training to be China's future gymnastsBy Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 9:41 PM on 10th August 2010
It's enough to make any parents grimace as these Chinese children are contorted into the most uncomfortable positions.
Aged between four and seven, the young gymnasts are put through a rigorous stretching routine by their coaches during a training session.
One youngster has his hamstrings stretched out as his instructor pins his leg almost vertically alongside his head.
Contorted: A coach pins the leg of this young boy using his hand and foot
At a stretch: Children as young as four are put through a tough training schedule at a sports school in Jiaxing, China
The gymnasts were taking part in a training session at the gymnastics hall of a sports school in Jiaxing, in the Zhejiang province in China.
Chinese officials have insisted that tough new eligibility rules will end the type of 'age cheat' scandal which saw a Chinese gymnast stripped of her bronze medal.
Safety net: One young gymnast jumps of a high bar as an instructor holds out his hands in case he falls
Hanging in there: These boys are made to perform handstands or hang from high bars
Concentration: Four young boys watch on as another is suspended upside down from rings inside the gym
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) decided in February to cancel all results obtained by Miss Fangxiao and the International Olympic Committee followed in April by stripping China of the medal.
An investigation by the FIG revealed she was only 14 when she competed in the games. Athletes must be 16 in the year of the games to be able to take part.