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(2nd LD) (Asiad) Son Yeon-jae gives S. Korea first gold in rhythmic gymnastics

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2014-10-02
(2nd LD) (Asiad) S Korea-rhythmic gymnastics gold
(2nd LD) (Asiad) Son Yeon-jae gives S. Korea first gold in rhythmic gymnastics
(ATTN: OMITS repeated quote)
By Park Sojung
INCHEON, Oct. 2 (Yonhap) -- Rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae gave South Korea its first Asian Games title in the individual all-around on Thursday.
The 20-year-old scored a combined 71.699 points in ball, hoop, ribbon and clubs, forcing her Chinese rival Deng Senyue to second place with 70.332 points. Anastasiya Serdyukova of Uzbekistan claimed the bronze with 68.349 points.



"I'm glad I was able to stay strong in Asia," Son told reporters after the match. "It was hard to keep my form after all the traveling. But I had a clear goal and I pulled it through."
Son started with her clubs routine, the hardest among all showcased, and performed it with precision to place herself squarely on top with 18.100 points.
She also dominated the ribbons with 18.083 points and posted her daily best, 18.216 points, in the hoop, which she toyed with in a manner that seemingly defied gravity.
Son sealed her win with a sublime routine in the ball, which was flawless save for a mistake in catching the airborne object. The routine earned her 17.300 points.
The star gymnast evoked ear-splitting cheers and applause each time she mounted and exited the stage. Her presence had attracted thousands of fans to the stadium.
Earlier in the Games, Son led her South Korean team to a silver, the best yet by the host nation, on Wednesday.
She was the odds-on favorite at the Games, having finished fourth at the world championships last week. Deng placed fifth at the same competition, trading positions with Son from last year.
Son also received bronze in the hoop to become the first Asian-born gymnast to climb the worlds podium.



With the gold, Son raised the bar she had set for herself at the 2010 Asian Games, where she became the first South Korean to win a bronze medal in rhythmic gymnastics.
Tickets to the event at Namdong Gymnasium in Incheon were among the first to sell out at the Games, with local swimming hero Park Tae-hwan also seen among the crowd.
Regarding swimmer Park attending the game, Son said she wanted to thank everyone who watched her performance.
"I'd like to thank Park since I'd also cheered for him during his competition. But I'd also like to thank everyone who came here to watch me or watched me on television," she said.
(END)


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