Gymnast Carlos Yulo is about to reap the dividends of a strict three-year training regimen in Japan.
The 18-year-old Yulo shoots for history, as he aims to win the Philippines’ first-ever gold medal in Artistic Gymnastics on Thursday in the 18th Asian Games at the Jakarta International Expo Hall here.
On Monday, Yulo finished on top of an 8-man field that made it to the medal round of the floor exercises on Thursday, starting at 5:00pm Manila time.
Standing just 4-foot-11 – but a bundle of energy on the floor – Yulo led the field as he submitted a score of 14.500, followed by Taipei’s Chia-Hong Tang with 14.450, while Japan’s Kakeru Tanigawa had the third-best score of 14.400.
He is the favorite for the gymnastics’ floor gold, his preference among the five apparatus in the Artistic Gymnastics finals.
Yulo came in seventh in the men’s all-around with a score of 80.750. The event was dominated by Chinese gymnast Lin Chaopan with 86.75.
The silver medalist in the Floor Exercise of the World Cup in Doha, Qatar early this year has been training in Japan the past three years, eight hours a day, six days a week. He is under the tutelage of coach Munehiro Kugimiya, with the assistance of the Japanese Gymnastics Federation, preparing him for qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Yulo is one of the athletes being supported both by the Siklab Foundation and the MVP Sports Foundation.
The two-time Palarong Pambasa champion burst into the world gymnastics’ scene early this year with podium finishes after qualifying in the eight-leg World Cup Gymnastics series, where he competed in its final three stops, snatching the bronze in the vault competitions in Melbourne, then snaring the silver in the vault in Baku, before bagging another silver in the floor competitions Doha.
In Qatar, Yulo made heads turn with his impressive routine that netted him a 14.433, as he finished behind eventual champion, Russia’s Dmitrii Lankin, who had a 14.733. He even bested Japan’s Ryohei Kato, who won a gold in the team all-around event at the 2016 Rio Olympics.