July 14, 2015 11:22
Rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae finished the Summer Universiade in Gwangju as a triple gold medalist, adding two gold and two silver medals on Monday from ball and hoop, and clubs and ribbon, respectively.
Earlier on Sunday, Son won the gold medal in the individual all-around, becoming the first Korean rhythmic gymnast ever to do so in the Universiade.
Son performed cleanly in the hoop final to finish first with 18.300 points. Son also came atop in the ball final with 18.250 points.
But in the clubs final, Son dropped her one of clubs during the performance and shared second place with Melitina Staniouta of Belarus with 17.800 points. Ganna Rizatdinova of Ukraine earned 18.200 points. In the ribbon final, Son's ribbon got tied up. Staniouta earned 17.900 points to win, and Son came in second with 17.800.
It was not perfect, but Son achieved a lot this season. She battled against injuries and loneliness throughout the last five years, training in faraway Russia.
She hurt her ankle in the Bucharest World Cup in Italy, in April, and had to increase her training time despite lingering pain to be ready for the Universiade.
Son stood out with her confident display of skills throughout three days of rhythmic gymnastics competitions. "Although I didn't win all the five disciplines, I'm happy," Son said. "I was able to restore confidence in myself through the Universiade."
With the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro just one year away, Son said, "I want the next year to be the most memorable of my career. I want to do my best and have no regrets. For now, I will focus on the world championships in Stuttgart, Germany in September."
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