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31st SEA Games

Yulo far from done, sets sights on Paris



CARLOS Yulo vies in two crucial tournaments in a bid to qualify in the Paris Olympics in 2024. | photograph by RIO DELUVIO for the daily tribune @tribunephl_rio

HANOI, Vietnam — Carlos Yulo won’t have the luxury of rest and relaxation until his ultimate mission is accomplished.

After his stint in the 31st Southeast Asian Games here, Yulo will fly out and head back to Tokyo to resume his training for two major meets aimed at qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“He will compete in Doha in July and in October in Liverpool,” gymnastics president Cynthia Carrion said after Yulo won a gold in the all-around and the team event settled for silver on Friday.

“He can’t afford to take a break because it doesn’t do any good physically,” Carrion said, recalling an incident a few years ago when Yulo paid his parents a visit after a long absence.

“His coach (Munehiro Kugimiya) told him to do training (while on vacation),” she said.

Yulo was the toast of the biennial meet late Friday at the Quan Ngura Sports Palace here, registering 85.150 in the men’s all-around individual event while relegating Vietnam’s best bets — Le Thanh Tung (84.050) and Dinh Phuong Thanh (82.450) — to the silver and bronze medals.

Yulo will attempt to dominate his remaining events in the coming days: Floor exercise, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bars.

The 22-year-old pride of Manila is tipped to harvest more gold medals as he is also the defending champion in floor exercise, an apparatus that he also won during the 2019 worlds in Stuttgart, Germany.

Aside from the floor exercise gold, Yulo also won the vault in the 2021 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan.

Carrion sympathizes with Yulo’s inability to take a breather but swears there is a job that needs to be done.

Yulo himself admits he has to sacrifice so he could fulfill his lifelong dream.

“I will always work hard so I can achieve my dream (of winning in the Olympics),” Yulo said.

In the rescheduled Tokyo Games last year, Yulo failed to medal after a fall in his pet apparatus, the floor exercise.

Carrion said Yulo will either be in training mode or competition form for the rest of 2022 and the entire 2023 with Paris foremost on his mind.

And what happens if Yulo winds up striking gold in Paris?

“That’s the only time I will try to convince his coach to finally give him a break,” Carrion said.