‘Fracture Fight’ Akbari’s Son Ji In “I get a lot of encouragement from Yeon Yeon’s feedback”
“Rhythmic gymnastics, it’s harder than it looks. Hehe~”
When I ask her, “Do you pretend it doesn’t hurt when you break a bone?” she says, “You have to endure it.” It’s something most people can’t imagine, but that’s what it takes to be an athlete. It’s unimaginable for most people, but that may be the fate of athletes, especially rhythmic gymnasts. In fact, he performed at the national rhythmic gymnastics team trials last year without realizing he had broken a rib. “At the time, I thought I couldn’t miss the opportunity,” he says, “and I think I stuck with it.”
Son Ji-in (16-Sejonggo 2), a member of the Korean rhythmic gymnastics team at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, has taken after retired world star Son Yeon-jae. “I think we look alike,” he says when asked about the attention. He was the only Korean to compete at the World Championships in Valencia, Spain, last month, and was touched by Son’s post-tournament feedback. “You did so well that there was no technical difference between you and the Uzbekistan player who was ranked first in Asia. Her articulation, flow, and expression were well organized. But I can’t see the composition and music.” In response to a text from her role model, Son Yeon-jae, Son Ji-in said, “I’m very grateful that Yeon-yeon said something nice about me, and it gave me a lot of strength.”
Son Ji-in’s ribbon performance reminds her of Yeon-jae Son. Courtesy of Wow Management Group
Son Ji-in will be competing in the Asian Games alongside her teammates Ha Soo-i (Login Rent-a-Car), Cho Byeol-ah (J Team), and senior Kim Joo-won (Sejong University). The four will compete for medals in the team and individual events on Oct. 6-7.
In the individual competition, they will have to perform a 90-second routine accompanied by music, combining skill, artistry, and difficulty on hoops, balls, truncheons, and ribbons. As Son advises, Ji-in has been practicing repetition to improve his performance so that the various elements can be seen at a glance. “Recently, I’ve been increasing the number of fancy turns, back turns, and attitude turns. It’s exciting when a new technique works.”
Training under the guidance of Russian coach Elena Kolodova is not easy. They spend an hour and a half warming up before the two intense sessions in the morning and afternoon. You need to loosen up your hips and ligaments, bend and stretch your back and ankles as much as possible. The balletic movements, followed by jumping, are enough to make you break out in a sweat. “We used to warm up for two hours,” says Son.
Rhythmic gymnasts spend one and a half hours stretching. Courtesy of Wow Management Group
There are other challenges for athletes that you can’t see. One of her signature moves is the panchette, in which she bends at the waist to 90 degrees and extends her legs vertically for seven to eight revolutions. If you touch the floor beneath your toes, which are the axis of rotation, you will feel “the floor is hot” from the heat of friction.
Even when she feels out of breath and like her chest is about to burst, she has to smile broadly in front of the judges. Because it’s a full-body workout, it takes a lot of energy and requires strength, so Son trains separately for physical training.
He says, “I’ve been doing it for over 10 years, so it’s become a habit. I still cry when it’s too hard,” he says. During breaks, “I’m happy to chat with my coworkers and de-stress,” he says. Green Coaching Solution CEO Chung Green, who helps him with mental counseling, said, “He’s quiet and doesn’t show much of himself, but when he’s doing rhythmic gymnastics, he shows a lot of dedication and passion. He is very patient and willing to grow.”먹튀검증
At last year’s national trials, Son performed without realizing she had broken a rib. He had been sick for a week before the tournament, but thought he broke it during the game. Instagram wrap-up
At the Asian Games, Son and her team will compete against Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, China, and Japan for the top spot. Son Ji-in will be the anchor of the Korean team in both the team and individual events, and if she wins a medal, it will be her first Asian Games podium since Son Yeon-jae.
“The Asian Games is something I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid,” said Son. “I’ve been training intensely to reduce mistakes and to make sure that each move is familiar to my hands, feet, and body. It’s a tough fight, but I really want to stand on the podium.”