By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Next year will remain a busy and challenging season for gymnast Carlos Yulo as he continues his “Revenge The Tokyo” campaign.
This was confirmed by Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP) President Cynthia Carrion, saying Yulo is penciled to compete in three major events – the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam in May, the 19th Hangzhou Asian Games in China in September, and the 51st FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Liverpool, England – the date of which is yet to be finalized.
“It’s going to be very busy for Caloy because he’s going to compete in all events in the SEA Games and the Asian Games,” Carrion said in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association online forum.
Yulo was a big disappointment in the Tokyo Games as he failed to advance in the final round of the floor exercise where he was then the world reigning titlist.
Though he topped qualifier of his pet event in the 50th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan, he ended up a dismal fifth, thus raising concern about his resilience.
But he redeemed himself by ruling the vault event apart from earning a silver medal in parallel bars.
For his feat, Yulo stands to receive P750,000 from the Philippine Sports Commission.
The government sports agency said the P500,000 is for winning the gold and the P250,000 for silver finish in parallel bars.
PSC chairman Butch Ramirez explained that the provisions and technical condition of Republic Act No. 10699 also known as the “Sports Benefits and Incentives Act of 2001” does not cover the annual tournament that drew 56 countries this edition.
Yulo is hoping to eclipse his two-gold, five-silver medal haul during the 2019 Manila SEAG. He finished only seventh in floor exercise at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.
Carrion said their long-term goal is to have Yulo compete in the all-around at the 2024 Paris Olympics, but that would depend on how his training will go for the next three years.
“It’s going to be risky to have him compete in all-around because there’s going to be more preparations for him in all events, but we’re working around it,” Carrion said.
“For now, that’s our decision, but as we go on with training and see how he’s doing, that’s where we are also going to decide. Anyway, it’s still three years from now. There’s more time.”
Carrion also said they are looking for a sports psychologist to complete Yulo’s team, following weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz’s formula of having a sports psychologist, nutritionist, strength and conditioning coach and head coach on her way to winning the country’s first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo.
So far, Yulo’s team is composed of his coach Munehiro Kugimiya and therapist Jumpei Konno. The two Japanese also act as his strength and conditioning coaches, as well as nutritionists.
“Right now, we only need a psychologist for Caloy because sometimes he gets really nervous. It is really important for his mental toughness,” Carrion said.
Meanwhile, Yulo is expected to compete in the All-Japan Team Final on Dec. 10 before flying home to Manila to spend the holidays.