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Son Yeon-jae wraps up Pesaro World Cup with two silver medals

All Headlines 08:59 April 04, 2016

SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korean rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae collected two silver medals at an International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG) competition in Italy on Sunday (local time) as she gears up for the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games.

At the season's third FIG World Cup in Pesaro, Italy, Son scored 18.550 points in both clubs and ribbon to win silver medals in each apparatus final. Margarita Mamun of Russia won the gold medal in clubs with 19.100, while Ganna Rizatdinova of Ukraine was the top performer in ribbon with 18.600. In ribbon, Son was tied for second with Russia's Dina Averina.

Earlier Sunday, Son finished fourth in ball and sixth in hoop.

Yana Kudryavtseva, a three-time world all-around champion, didn't compete in apparatus finals after taking the gold medal in individual all-around with 76.450 points on Saturday as she decided to rest. The 18-year-old Russian was having her first World Cup appearance of the season after recovering from an ankle injury.

The competition in Pesaro was considered the first real test for Son this season because she had to face the world's top-ranked rhythmic gymnasts like Kudryavtseva and Mamun for the first time at the World Cup.

On Saturday, Son missed the podium in individual all-around but still earned a career-high 73.900 points to finish fourth.

Son has now collected medals at every FIG World Cup this season. At the Espoo World Cup in February, she took a gold medal in ball, silvers in individual all-around and ribbon, and a bronze in hoop. At the Lisbon World Cup last month, the 21-year-old finished runner-up in ball and clubs, while finishing third in hoop.

However, as top-ranked rhythmic gymnasts are expected to ratchet up their efforts to prepare for the Rio Games in August, Son is expected face tougher challenges in future World Cups.

Son, who finished fifth in individual all-around at the 2012 London Games, will return to her homeland on Tuesday ahead of the national team qualification for Rio on Saturday at Taeneung National Training Center in Seoul. Before competing at the season's fourth World Cup in Tashkent in May, she is expected to upgrade her program and techniques against stronger opponents.

Kudryavtseva and Mamun have been considered the top two favorites to claim gold medals in Rio, as they have been dominating the World Championships in recent years. While their compatriot Aleksandra Soldatova, who has topped the individual all-around in the first two World Cups this season, was missing at the Pesaro World Cup, Rizatdinova was also solid in Italy.

The 22-year-old Ukrainian, who finished third in the individual all-around final on Saturday, won gold medals in ball and ribbon, while adding a silver medal in hoop. Her only flaw was in clubs, where she finished ninth with 16.200 points.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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