Son: Worlds went badly, but I have no regrets

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Son: Worlds went badly, but I have no regrets

Son Yeon-jae said that she has no lingering regrets over her mediocre performance during the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships.

The 19-year-old returned home yesterday after ending her unsuccessful bid to become the first Korean rhythmic gymnast to win a medal at the world championships.

“Every athlete would get nervous ahead of the world championships. I had long been in good condition, but it went bad suddenly on the day I competed,” she said upon arriving at Incheon International Airport.

“But, I am not saying that I did not show my best just because I was nervous.”

Son finished fifth among 24 finalists in the all-around event at the 2013 worlds held in Kiev, Ukraine, on Friday. She was given 70.332 points in total (17.783 for hoop, 17.683 for ball, 17.516 for ribbon and 17.350 for clubs), behind the winner, Yana Kudryavtseva of Russia, who received 73.866.

Ganna Rizatdinova of Ukraine won the silver medal with 73.041 points while Melitina Staniouta of Belarus rounded out the podium finishers with 72.166. Son’s Asian rival, Deng Senyue of China, finished fourth with 70.374.

Still, it was the first time a Korean finished in the top 10 in the all-around final at the rhythmic gymnastics worlds. It was also Son’s best result at the worlds. She finished in 11th place at the 2011 worlds’ all-around final. She advanced to the all-around final at the London Olympics, the first Korean to do so at the Olympics.

Son’s best result at the individual apparatus finals was sixth in the clubs on Thursday. She also advanced to the final in the ball and hoop, but finished seventh in both.

“I think that I would be able to improve further from this event. I should improve ahead of next season, which includes the Asian Games,” Son said, referring to the event to be held in Incheon next September.

BY MOON GWANG-LIP [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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