Son Yeon-jae wins Korea’s first medal in WC gymnastics
The 17-year-old promising rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae has become the first Korean to win a medal in the World Cup series sanctioned by the International Gymnastics Federation.
Son won a bronze medal Saturday jointly with Ganna Rizatdinova of Ukraine in the ribbon final of the FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Sofia, Bulgaria, with 27.3 points. The Korean also won a bronze in hoop of the Penza World Cup in Russia April 29.
Son placed seventh in individual rankings Friday by scoring a cumulative 109.8 points from hoop (27.775), ball (26.55), clubs (27.75) and ribbon (27.725). The following day, she finished fourth in hoop (27.7) and seventh in clubs (24.9) but shared the third spot in ribbon.
Son`s choreographer Lucy Dimitrova said, “It`s not easy for even top-10 rankers to win medals in two straight World Cup series events. I first thought that Yeon-jae was a cute Asian girl but now she`s grown into someone that European players need to pay attention to.”
The gymnast plans to continue training in Novogorsk, Russia, before competing in the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Uzbekistan.
“I made a mistake in the clubs final but I`m glad that I`ve psychologically overcome it. I`ll do my best to advance to the final of the London Olympic Games,” Son said.
The Korean gymnastics poster-child also fared well in other disciplines, scoring 28.125 in the ball, 27.675 in the club, and 28.50 in the ribbon. Son finished fourth overall at the series with a total of 112.2 points, breaking both national and personal records for rhythmic gymnastics here.
Previously, Son advanced to 10th place in the individual all-around at a World Cup series and this is the first time that the athlete has advanced to the final four in any discipline.
Son was also the first Korean to bring home an international medal at a discipline final, winning a bronze medal, also in the hoop, at the Grand Prix in Moscow in February.
Sunday’s victory comes after Son won a bid for the 2012 London Olympic Games by taking 11th place during the 2011 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Montpellier, France.
Son will continue to compete in the series in Sofia, Bulgaria next month.
Son, a native of Seoul, currently trains in Russia.
Azerbaijan’s Aliya Garaeva took home the gold with 28.675 points and Russia’s Daria Dmitriyeva won silver at Sunday’s World Cup gymnastics meet.
Son Yeon-Jae (born 28 May 1994 in Seoul, South Korea) is a South Korean rhythmic gymnast. She is a member of the South Korean national gymnastics team, based in Taereung, Seoul. She is the 2010 Asian Games bronze medalist. She is currently managed by the IB Sports agency.