The next Summer Olympic Games is by now close to being around the corner, and so every athlete of note around the world is busy doing their best in every regional and international competition in order to secure an Olympic qualification. Even the soon-to-happen Southeast Asian Games have some aspiring Olympians among its competitors from the SEA nations. Meanwhile, the Philippines already got its own share of Olympic-qualified athletes. Early this month artistic gymnast Carlos Yulo advanced to the finals of the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships and received an Olympic spot for Team Philippines from it. But he was not done yet in impressing.
As CNN Philippines tells it, Carlos Yulo just topped his spot as a Philippine Olympian for the 2020 Summer Games in Japan, by winning a gold medal for the country in a competition that it had never bagged before. It was this past Saturday, October 12, when Yulo performed in the men’s floor exercise, having made it to the event finals after finishing 16th in the qualifiers. And so, at the World Championships held at Stuttgart, Germany, the 19-year-old new star of Philippine gymnastics recorded a 15.3 score for his routine, earning the nation’s first gold medal for this competition.
Such had been the surprise with the Philippine cheering section and Yulo himself, as he apparently had not expected to win more than he already had by qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics next year. Immediately after finals he had called his mother Angelica Yulo back in the Philippines. She says in interview that her son thought the rest of his opponents for the men’s floor routine finals were too good to realistically beat. “When people tell him how good he is, he would always answer he just got lucky,” noted the elder Yulo. “That’s what others tell me about him.”
When all was said and done however, it was Carlos Yulo who carried the day and won for the Philippines a new honor in artistic gymnastics for men. Following his 15.3 score is silver medal winner Artem Dolgopyat of Israel with a 15.2, a mere .1 difference from the Filipino gold medalist. China’s Xiao Ruoteng rounded off the winner’s podium with his bronze-medal 14.933 score.
Perhaps it helped that 2019 was not Yulo’s first rodeo in the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. He also competed in 2018, for the same floor exercise event and won bronze, making it the first podium finish of the Philippines for this major gymnastics tilt. His 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics qualifying score comes down to 82.164 points at the all-around event.
Image courtesy of Mania Bulletin