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Following World Cup success, Son eyes Asian Games title

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Published : 2014-04-15 20:21
Updated : 2014-04-15 20:21

INCHEON (Yonhap) ― Having grabbed multiple medals on the World Cup circuit, South Korean rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae said Tuesday she has set her sights on this year’s Asian Games on her native soil.

Son returned home after competing at FIG World Cup events in Portugal and Italy earlier this month. She captured four titles at a FIG World Cup stop in Lisbon during the first weekend of April, including the individual all-around gold medal.

Son is the first South Korean rhythmic gymnast to win an individual all-around gold at a senior international competition.
Korean rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae speaks to the media at Incheon International Airport on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

The following weekend in Pesaro, Italy, Son won the silver in clubs and the bronze in ball. She also set her personal-high with 18.100 points in the preliminary for hoop, though she came up shy of a podium finish in the apparatus.

The 19-year-old has now won at least a medal in her past eight World Cups. She is now eyeing more success at the Asian Games starting this September in Incheon, a metropolitan city just west of Seoul.

“My goal is to win the individual all-around gold medal at the Asian Games,” she said. “I also hope to do well at the team event.”

Son won the bronze in the individual all-around at the previous Asian Games, held in Guangzhou, China, in 2010. It was the first rhythmic gymnastics medal by a South Korean at any international event.

Son and her three teammates finished fourth in the team competition, 0.6 point behind the bronze medal-winning Japanese team.

Son finished fifth in the individual all-around at the 2012 London Olympics, the best South Korean performance at an Olympics in her sport.

Son is scheduled to compete at the 2014 Korea Cup International Gymnastics Competition on Saturday and Sunday at Namdong Gymnasium in Incheon, the same venue for rhythmic gymnastics at the Asian Games this fall.

“I am looking forward to competing at the same venue for the Asian Games,” she said.

“I began preparations for this season early, and it’s helped me with my conditioning. I’ve been able to perform my programs with more energy.”

A whirlwind schedule will see Son take the center stage at a corporate-sponsored rhythmic gymnastics gala show in Seoul on April 26-27.

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