Son Yeon-jae is preparing for the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in August. As part of her efforts, she will compete at the World Cup in Lisbon from Friday to Sunday. Her schedule includes the hoop and ball preliminaries on Friday, club and ribbon preliminaries on Saturday, and finals on Sunday.
This is the first time that Son will compete in an International Gymnastic Federation (FIG) competition since finishing fifth in individual all-around at the 2012 London Olympics.
Son changed all four of her programs this year, increasing the difficulty level and improving her expression in accordance with new scoring rules implemented after the London Olympics. After the Grand Prix in March in Moscow, she spent some time at home getting rehab and attending Yonsei University, which she entered this year, before heading back to Russia.
"To fully master the new programs, I have to try twice as hard as usual. My goal is to be perfect in new programs by the World Championships in August," Son said. "I've discovered a lot of things that need to be improved in the new ball program. I'd like to make all of these four disciplines my strengths."
She is back on a rigorous diet regime and is even staying away from the smartphone she used to alleviate homesickness, the gymnast said.
Son plans to compete in seven FIG-hosted World Cup events from April to August plus the Asian Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the Universiad in Kazan, Russia, and the World Championships in Kiev, Ukraine.
"By participating in as many competitions as possible, Son hopes to get feedback on her technical and artistic skills, and improve the difficulty and accuracy of her movements," a Korea Gymnastic Association spokesperson said.