Korea's rhythmic gymnastics team missed a spot on the podium in the Guangzhou Asian Games by less than a point, failing to realize its dream of winning its first Asiad medal in eight years.
Kazakhstan led by Anna Alyabyeva won the gold with 271.050 points in the team final at the Asian Games Town Gymnasium on Thursday, while Uzbekistan took the silver with 259.350. The bronze medal went to Japan who finished with 256.350, just 0.6 point ahead of fourth-place Korea with 255.850.
This year's Korean team, comprised of Gim Yun-hee, 19, Lee Kyung-hwa, 22, Shin Soo-ji, 19, and Son Yeon-jae, 16, was regarded as the country's strongest ever, and had hoped to win a medal to replicate the feat achieved in Bangkok in 1998 and Busan in 2002.
Meanwhile, Son performed well in the preliminary of the individual all-around competition on the same day, earning scores in the 26-range in all the disciplines of rope, hoop, ball and ribbon. With a total score of 79.300 points, she finished fourth after rivals from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, keeping Korea's hopes alive of a medal in the individual event.
Shin, who had been expected to be the shining star of the team, was unable to show her usual strength due to an ankle injury.
The Korean gymnasts are hunting for their first Asiad medal ever in the individual event on Friday morning.