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[Newsmaker] Son wins gold at Asian Gymnastics

Son Yeon-jae. ( Asian Gymnastics Union)
Son Yeon-jae. ( Asian Gymnastics Union)
Gymnast Son Yeon-jae won three gold medals at the Asian Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, becoming the first South Korean to win gold at an international rhythmic gymnastic event.

The 19-year-old began her winning streak by clinching the individual all-round final on Friday with 72.066 points in the multi-sport competition combining hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon. She outperfomed Rakhmatova Djamila of Uzbekistan with 70.599 points and Deng Senyue of China with 70.250, who took silver and bronze, respectively.

On Saturday, Son added another gold as she finished with 18.433 points in the women’s hoop final, performing to music from Puccini’s “Turandot.”

There was a tense moment when Son dropped her hoop, but she immediately recovered, finishing an otherwise elegant and strong performance.

Son’s third gold came on the same day when she won the women’s club section with 18.400 points, in a competition of 36 gymnasts from 11 Asian countries.

Son’s performance to Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” in the women’s ribbon section saw her win the silver medal. Ball was the only event in which she failed to medal.

Son’s performance has been on a steady climb, winning medals at the International Federation of Gymnastics World Cup held in April and May.

Son’s latest feat of winning three golds and a silver comes a mere three years into competing at the international level, including the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010 and the London Olympics in 2012.

The results brightened the gymnast’s prospects for the upcoming Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Kiev, Ukraine, slated for August. Indeed, pundits have commented that Son has reached a stage where she performs evenly across all sections but needs to be more cautious about unexpected mistakes.

After the four-day event, Son shared the joy of her victory via Twitter.

“The long Asian championships have finally finished. I was very happy when the Korean national anthem was played at the gym. Thank you for supporting me.”

By Park Han-na and news reports
(hnpark@heraldcorp.com)
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