By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Carlos Yulo missed a podium finish in the men’s vault by hair’s breadth after settling for fourth place in the artistic gymnastics of the Tokyo Olympics on Monday.
One of the youngest athletes in the Philippine contingent, Yulo posted 14.716 after two vaults behind gold-medal winner Shin Jeahwan of Korea.
Shin, a two-time world champion, scored a similar 14.783 with Russian Olympic Committee’s Denis Abliazin but the Korean took home the gold after posting a higher score on his second vault.
Armenia’s Artur Davtyan won the bronze with 14.733.
Seeking to redeem himself after missing the floor exercise finals – an event he was fancied to win after emerging the 2019 world champion – Yulo scored 14.716 in his first vault with a 5.600 degree of difficulty and 9.066 in execution. He was penalized 0.100 after sticking out of the landing mark.
He scored 14.866 on his second run, actually posting the highest score among all of his seven competitors.
Without the penalty, Yulo could have gotten the bronze medal.
“Wala na po tayo magagawa doon. Sobrang lapit ko na po. May chance po na makakuha ng medal kung hindi po ako lumagpas,” said Yulo, referring to his first vault, where his right leg went outside of the pad during landing.
“Nakakahinayang lang po kasi ang ganda ng second vault ko,” added the 21-year-old Yulo, who was hoping to redeem himself in the vault after failing to advance to the finals of his favorite men’s floor exercise.
Despite this, Yulo’s future remains bright with his performance.
After all, he’s just 21.
“Gusto kong magpalakas. Feeling ko po may igagaling pa ako,” said Yulo, who is competing in the All-Japan Seniors next month.
“Hindi po muna ako makakauwi sa Pilipinas dahil may competition po ako next Yulo, fondly called Caloy, became the top trending topic on Twitter with words of gratitude and encouragement for the young gymnast.
“We’re proud of you, champ!” “Salamat sa laban, Caloy!” “Thank you for representing the Philippines!” “You’re still our champion!” were among the common phrases the netizens wrote shortly after Yulo settled for fourth place.
Netizens were also wishing him already to make it to the 2024 Paris Olympics.