Son Yeon-jae finishes 6th in clubs, makes all-around final at worlds

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Aug 30, 2013 - 19:50
  • Updated : Aug 30, 2013 - 19:50
Son Yeon-jae finished sixth in clubs and qualified for the individual all-around final on Thursday at the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Kiev, Ukraine.

Son earned 17.566 points in clubs to rank sixth among eight finalists in the apparatus. Earlier in the day, she finished 14th in the ribbon qualification round and failed to make the final.

On Wednesday, the reigning Asian all-around champion had finished seventh in both ball and hoop events.

Son, however, cruised into the all-around final at sixth overall among 24 qualifiers.

In the qualification round, she earned 17.300 points in clubs and 16.108 points in ribbon. A day earlier, she had scored 17.550 points in hoop and 17.400 points in ball.

With her lowest score from ribbon out of the equation, Son ended up with 52.250 points in total.

This marked the second straight world championship in which Son reached the all-around final. At the 2011 event in Montpellier, France, Son ended in 11th place.

Margarita Mamun of Russia was the top all-around qualifier with 55.149 points, followed by another Russian, Yana Kudryavtseva, with 55.016 points. The two shared the gold medal in clubs with 18.366 points.

Though she failed to win a medal, Son is still the first South Korean to advance to a final in an individual discipline at the world championships.

At the London Olympics last year, Son finished fifth in the all-around event, the best performance by a South Korean rhythmic gymnast. Son won four silver and three bronze medals during the 2013 FIG World Cup season, and also claimed gold medals in all-around, hoop and clubs at the Asian championships in June in Tashkent, Ukraine, to become the first South Korean to win any international title.

Son is one of the most popular athletes in South Korea and has appeared in a series of television commercials. Last year, she was voted national athlete of the year in a survey, beating out more accomplished athletes, such as Olympic swimming gold medalist Park Tae-hwan and reigning Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na. (Yonhap News)