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Sunday, 14 September 2014

Koihime Musou Girls and Famous Koreans, Part XXXI: Sun Quan and Son Yeon-jae


Son Yeon-jae (Hangul/Hanja: 손연재/孫延在; born 28 May 1994 in Seoul, South Korea) is a South Korean rhythmic gymnast. A member of the South Korean national gymnastics team, based in Taereung, Seoul Nowon-gu. she is the 2010 Asian Games bronze medalist, and is managed by the IB Sports agency. Son currently trains in Russia. She is a member of Miryang Son Clan (밀양 손씨/密陽孫氏), a clan which is originated from Miryang City, Southern Gyeongsang Province - Home of Miryang Arirang.

Son began gymnastics at a young age to help her lose weight. In 2009, she performed for the opening ceremony of Olympic and World figure skater, Kim Yuna's Fiesta on Ice. Son became a star in Korea after grabbing a medal in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, becoming the first Korean gymnast to do so. Soon after that, she went to Russia for long-term training.

Son Yeon-jae made her international debut at Corbeil-Essonnes International Rhythmic Gymnastics Tournament on May 2010. She placed 11th. At the 2010 World Championships, she placed 32nd in the individual all-around and did not advance into the finals. At the 2011 Grand Prix, she placed 19th in the individual overall with the total score of 100.700 points.

At the Grand Prix series held on February 2012, she tied for the 18th place with Wong Posh San with the total score of 100.850 in the individual overall and third in the Hoop final. On April 2012, Son became the first Korean rhythmic gymnast to medal at the World Cup Series, Category B by winning a bronze medal in the Hoop final in Penza, Russia, and placed fourth in the individual overall. On May 2012, she finished last in the Hoop final at the World Cup Series, Category B in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and placed fifth overall. Son finished second to last in the individual all-around at the World Cup Series, Category A in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Son placed 6th at the Qualifications. At the All-around finals, She was ranked 3rd in the rankings up to the 2nd rotation until a drop from her Clubs scored her a 26.750 points. Son placed 5th overall at the Finals with a score of 111.475 points. Son became the first Korean Rhythmic Gymnast to qualify and reach the All-around Finals at the Olympics.

In 2013, Son started her season competing at the 2013 Moscow Grand Prix where she won bronze in clubs, she competed at the 2013 Lisboa World Cup where she finished 9th in all-around and won bronze in ribbon. On 30 April 2013, Son got a silver medal in the ribbon finals at the 2013 Pesaro World Cup, it was the first time a Korean athlete won a silver medal at any discipline of a rhythmic gymnastic World Cup. Son finished 4th in all-around at the 2013 Sofia World Cup and shared the bronze medal in hoop with Ukrainian Ganna Rizatdinova. Son then competed at the 2013 Minsk World Cup where she finished 4th in all-around, at the event finals, she took the silver medals in hoop and in clubs who was tied with Russian rising star Yana Kudryavtseva, she finished 4th in ribbon and 7th in ball. Son competed at the 2013 Asian Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan where she became the first Korean rhythmic gymnast to win gold in the all-around, she also helped Team Korea win the silver medal. At the finals, Son won gold in hoop and clubs, she won silver in ribbon behind China's Deng Senyue and finished 4th in ball. She competed at the 2013 Summer Universiade where she finished 6th in all-around, she qualified to 3 event finals where she won silver in ball, placed 5th in clubs and 7th in ribbon. At the 2013 World Cup Final in St.Petersburg, Russia, Son finished 4th in all-around and in the event finals won silver in hoop, bronze in ribbon, placed 4th in clubs and ball. At the 2013 World Championships in Kiev, Ukraine, Son qualified to 3 event finals where she finished 7th in hoop, ball and 6th in clubs behind Deng Senyue. She finished 5th in the All-around at the 2013 World Championships again behind Chinese rival Deng Senyue who finished 4th.

In 2014, Son began her season competing at the 2014 Moscow Grand Prix finishing 6th in the all-around, at the event finals she won bronze medals in ribbon, clubs and hoop. Son then competed at the 2014 Stuttgart World Cup finishing 7th in All-around, she qualified to 3 event finals: she took silver in ribbon, placed 8th in ball and 5th in hoop. Son won her first gold medal in the World Cup at the 2014 Lisbon World Cup becoming the first Asian and Korean rhythmic gymnast to win and medal in the All-around. She scored a total of 71.200 points ahead of Melitina Staniouta (silver) and World Cup debutante Dina Averina (bronze). In the event finals, Son became the first Asian and Korean rhythmic gymnast to win 3 gold medals (in ball, clubs, ribbon) and won bronze in hoop behind Staniouta and Maria Titova. She followed with her next event at the 2014 Pesaro World Cup, where Son finished 5th in all-around and won silver in clubs and bronze in ball final. In May 30-June 1, Son competed at the 2014 Minsk World Cup and finished 10th in all-around, she qualified to 3 event finals and won a silver in hoop, bronze in ribbon. In August 8-10, Son competed at the 2014 Sofia World Cup and won the all-around bronze medal with a total of 70.250 points. She qualified to 4 event finals: taking 2 bronze medals (in hoop, ball), 4th in clubs and 5th in ribbon. In September 5-7, competing at the 2014 World Cup Final in Kazan, Russia, Son finished 5th in the all-around behind Katsiaryna Halkina with a total of 69.750 points. She qualified to 3 event finals taking bronze in hoop, placed 5th in ball and 6th in clubs.