Son Yeon-jae to perform at the London Olympics

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Son Yeon-jae to perform at the London Olympics

테스트

Korean rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae performs with clubs at the 2011 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Montpellier, France, on Friday. She will compete at the 2012 London Olympics. [YONHAP]

After returning from an 11th-place finish at the 2011 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Montpellier, France, the Korean rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae said her new goal now is to finish in the top 10 at the 2012 London Olympics.

Son, 17, returned to Korea yesterday after earning a place at the quadrennial event by finishing 11th with an individual all-around score of 107.75 points. Her performance was enough to earn her the Olympic ticket that is only given to top-15 performers. Son scored a 26.625 in the hoop, a 27.075 in the ball, a 27.150 in clubs and a 26.9 in the ribbon competitions.

In the preliminary round of the world championships, Son finished 14th among 122 rhythmic gymnasts but was able to pull up her rank three places higher in the final round.

It was first expected that Son would be able to get her ticket by just finishing inside the top 18 since the International Gymnastics Federation, the governing body of gymnastics, allows only two gymnasts from one country to advance to the Olympics, but, on Friday, Son was both physically and mentally ready to put her best effort forward.

“I was a little nervous for my all-around event, but I’m satisfied that I finished my performance without mistakes,” Son said yesterday to Yonhap News Agency upon her arrival at Incheon International Airport.

테스트

Son Yeon-jae smiles, holding flowers upon her arrival at Incheon International Airport yesterday. [YONHAP]

Son’s achievement on Friday marked the second time in a row that a Korean rhythmic gymnast has qualified for the Summer Games. Shin Soo-ji, 20, made it to the 2008 Beijing Olympics where she finished 12th in the rhythmic gymnastics all-around competition.

Son said, however, now that she is confirmed to be in London next year, she will work hard to take at least 10th place in the London Olympics, aiming to show the best performance in Korea rhythmic gymnastics history.

“I’m happy that I got the Olympic ticket from the event that I was focusing hard on,” Son said. “I want to finish in the top 10 at the Olympics and perform in the finals.”

Son showed good signs of improvement in this year. The Sejong High School student used to finish between 12th and 14th place at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup series, but early this month, she was able to finish 10th in the individual all-around competition at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup series in Tashkent, Uzbekistan - the best finish in her career.

“I need to train hard in order to get a good result in the London Olympics,” Son said.


By Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

손연재 “곤봉 끝내고 런던 가겠다 생각”


프랑스서 올림픽 티켓 들고 귀국


“내년 런던 올림픽에서 10위 안에 들 겁니다.”

 손연재(17·세종고)의 얼굴엔 미소가 넘쳤다. 그는 프랑스 몽펠리에 세계리듬체조선수권대회를 마치고 25일 인천국제공항을 통해 귀국했다. 손연재는 24일(한국시간) 열린 개인종합 결선에서 11위를 차지해 15등까지 주어지는 올림픽 출전권을 따냈다.

 “곤봉을 끝내는 순간 (런던 올림픽에) 갈 수 있겠다 싶었어요.”

 손연재는 개인종합 결선 마지막 종목인 곤봉 연기를 끝낸 뒤 환하게 웃었던 순간을 떠올렸다. 관객들의 박수가 절로 나올 만큼 신이 났던 곤봉 연기가 끝난 뒤 코치들은 얼싸안고 펄쩍펄쩍 뛰었다.

전광판에 곤봉 점수(27.150점)가 찍히고 곧이어 런던행이 최종 확정됐을 때 손연재는 말을 잇지 못했다.

 “그 순간 울컥했어요. 러시아에 혼자 가서 고생했던 생각도 나고 지난 일들이 스쳐 지나가더라고요.”

 손연재는 “(런던 올림픽에서) 10위 안에 들어 결선에 진출하는 것”이 목표라고 했다. 런던 올림픽에서 10위 안에 든다면 우리나라 리듬체조계의 역사를 새로 쓰게 된다. 2008년 베이징 올림픽에 출전한 신수지(20·세종대)는 12위를 기록해 10위까지 올라가는 결선 진출엔 실패했다. 손연재의 상승세가 이어진다면 충분히 이룰 수 있는 목표다. 지난해 모스크바 세계선수권에서 32위(개인종합 98.625점)에 그친 손연재는 1년 만에 세계선수권 11위(결선 성적·개인종합 107.750점)에 오르는 괄목할 만한 성장을 했다.

 손연재는 다음달 6일부터 경기도 고양에서 열리는 전국체전에 참가한 뒤 같은 달 말 러시아로 출국한다. 손연재는 “올해 러시아 대표팀과 훈련한 게 도움이 많이 됐다. 빨리 러시아로 가 훈련에만 집중하고 싶다”며 다부진 각오를 밝혔다.
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