Posted : 2014-04-15 14:16
Updated : 2014-04-15 14:16

Rhythmic gymnast Son eyes Asian Games title, following multiple World Cup medals,

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.

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 and 27. (Yonhap)

관련 한글 기사

손연재 "올해 목표는 인천 아시안게임 금메달"

인천 아시안게임 개인종합 금메달이 올해 목표입니다.'

2014 코리아컵 국제체조대회 출전을 위해 15일 귀국한 '리듬체조의 요정' 손연재(20·연세대)는 이같이 올해 목표를 밝히며 '개인 종합뿐만 아니라 팀 경기에서도 좋은 성적을 거두고 싶다'는 바람을 드러냈다.

손연재는 8연속 국제체조연맹(FIG) 월드컵 메달을 목에 걸고, 리스본 월드컵에서 4관왕에 오르는 등 좋은 성적을 거둬 9월 개막하는 인천 아시안게임 금메달 전망을 밝혔다.

그는 '코리아컵이 인천 아시안게임이 열리는 경기장에서 해서 좋다'며 '인천에서 대회가 열리는 만큼 좋은 성적을 거두고 싶다'고 각오를 밝혔다.

손연재는 2010년 광저우 아시안게임 때 개인종합 동메달을 따며 한국 리듬체조에 아시안게임 개인종합 첫 메달을 안긴 바 있다.

현재로서는 아시아권에서 경쟁자가 사실상 없지만, 손연재는 '아직 중국에서 어떤 선수가 나올지 모르니 경기가 열리는 10월이 돼봐야 금메달 가능성을 가늠할 수 있을 것'이라고 자만하지 않는 모습을 보였다.

손연재는 지난 시즌 직후 4종목 작품을 다시 짜고 곧바로 훈련에 들어갔다.

음악과 잘 어우러지는 표현력이 돋보이는 가운데 연기가 지난 시즌보다 한층 힘 있어졌다는 평가를 받는다.

손연재는 '시즌 준비를 일찍 시작한 덕분에 체력적인 면에서도 부담이 적고, 작품 또한 힘있게 연기할 수 있는 것 같다'며 '훈련을 통해 난도 점수를 최대한 10점 가까이 받을 수 있도록 노력하고 있다'고 자신을 돌아봤다.

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