By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Carlos Yulo, one of the country’s brightest hopes to win the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics, will not get vaccinated against COVID-19 – for now.
Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP) President Cynthia Carrion disclosed this Friday, May 28, during the vaccine rollout for Olympic- and Southeast Asian Games-bound athletes at the Manila Prince Hotel.
“I won’t let Caloy (Yulo) vaccinated for now because it might affect his training physically,” said Carrion.
Carrion said she has already talked to Yulo about this and the 21-year-old world champion gymnast agreed to her decision.
“I told him after the Olympics na lang (to get vaccinated) and he said, ‘It’s your decision, ma’am.’ We feel that it’s too close already and we don’t want anything to disrupt his training,” Carrion said.
Yulo, a multiple medalist at the 2019 SEAG, has been training extensively in Japan for the past years under Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya. He also balances his training with his studies at Teikyo University.
Carrion said members of the team who would be around Yulo during the Olympics would get vaccinated to protect the prized athlete.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino said he respects the decision of other Olympic-bound athletes who do not want to get vaccinated for now, saying that vaccines are not required in the Games.
“Hindi na mapipilit yon. Hindi naman mandatory sa Tokyo eh,” Tolentino said.
Meanwhile, Carrion said Yulo will join a local tournament in Japan on June 6 where he will compete in the parallel bars.
The gymnastics chief has been in constant communication with Yulo particularly in helping him deal with homesickness after being away from his family for years.
“He gets a little tired, sometimes lonely because he hasn’t come home in a long, long time. But we talk to him and say konti na lang. And that’s what he’s doing,” Carrion said.
“And I’m glad coach Mune (Kugimiya) is helping him because there, it’s only school, train and home lang for him.”
Yulo earned a berth to the Olympics after topping the floor exercise of the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships and finishing 10th in the individual all-around.