Stints in three major tournaments in Azerbaijan, Japan and Europe will only help Carlos Yulo’s bid to win the country’s first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo next year, the leadership of the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP) said yesterday.
GAP president Cynthia Carrion reported that the world champion gymnast “is doing well” in his Japan training camp.
“He is continuing his training and we are positive that he can give us the gold medal since he had a longer time to prepare,” Carrion said in an interview with Daily Tribune.
With the coronavirus pandemic still raging all over the world, Carrion is hopeful that the Olympics — scheduled 23 July to 9 August — will proceed as scheduled.
“I am really fighting for the Olympics to go. We really wanted for the Olympics to push through and I am confident the organizers can stage it despite the pandemic.”
Yulo is just one of four Filipino Tokyo qualifiers so far. The three others are Italy-based pole vaulter EJ Obiena and boxers Eumir Marcial, now training under Freddie Roach in Los Angeles, and Irish Magno.
Yulo, 20, is currently rated second in floor exercise, 26th in vault and 31st in the parallel bars, according to the International Gymnastics Federation rankings.
Last year, Yulo made waves after topping the floor exercise in the world championships in Stuttgart, Germany, with the victory automatically giving him an Olympic berth.
Yulo capped the year with two golds — all-around and floor — in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games held on home soil.
To toughen up for Tokyo, Carrion said it would be better for Yulo to stay in Japan so he remains in training mode.
“He said he wanted to go home here for Christmas but I have to decide on that because I don’t want him to lose his focus. But when he goes home, it will be secretly and no media availability.”