2012/08/07 17:35 KST
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Construction company offers home to gymnastics gold medalist

GWANGJU, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean construction company on Tuesday promised to offer an apartment to Yang Hak-seon, who overcame grinding poverty and grabbed the men's vault gold medal at the London Olympics, as the nation has been touched by news stories of his family living in a shabby vinyl house.

   The 19-year-old Yang made headlines earlier Tuesday by winning South Korea's first-ever Olympic gold medal in artistic gymnastics. His family's economic difficulties also grabbed the media spotlight, as Yang told reporters in London that he wants to buy a house for his parents with cash rewards from the state and sport organizations.

   SM Group, a local construction company based in Gwangju, immediately responded to Yang's dream and promised to give his family an apartment in the southwestern city as a gift when construction is completed next year.

   "After hearing that Yang's family is leading a difficult life in a vinyl house, the company decided to give an apartment to his family as a present," a senior company official told Yonhap News by phone.

   The apartment complex in Gwangju, 329 kilometers south of Seoul, is currently under construction and is expected to open by the end of next year, the company said.


Parents of London Olympic gold medalist Yang Hak-seon pose in front of a vinyl house in a countryside in North Jeolla Provice on Aug. 7, 2012. (Yonhap)