BANGKOK—Despite the pain, Carlos Yulo shone brightly for the Philippines on Sunday, capturing the boys parallel bars title in impressive fashion in the 14th Asian Juniors Gymnastics Championships at the Nimibtur Gymnasium here.
Bucking a badly-sprained left ankle, Yulo sealed the gold with a score of 13.825 points, narrowly beating Japanesemedalist Takeru Kitazono (13.75), while humbling Chinaís fancied Chen Yihao, who took the bronze (13.65), in exiting the tournament with a bang.
“Masaya po at nanalo ng gold. Pero masakit pa rin,” said the diminutive Pinoy dynamo,referring to the injury he suffered in practice last Tuesday that nearly sidelined him from competing in his one and only Asian Juniors stint.
It was a significant achievement for the Filipino gymnast, who became the only Southeast Asian entry in the tournament to break the monopoly of established powers like China, Japan, South Korea and North Korea.
“Training, training, training. It all paid off,” said proud Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya of his ward, who had been training intensively for nearly a year in the Japan national training center in Tokyo through the support of the Philippine Sports Commission.
“Caloy (Yulo’s nickname) is really a fighter and finally won the gold despite the injury. We are so proud of him,” said GAP secretary general Bettina Pou, who together with the rest of the national squad members, rooted for and witnessed the athleteís golden exploits.
Pou also took the occasion in thanking the PSC for funding the trip of the national team to this event which will serve us well in our buildup to the Malaysia Southeast Asian Games in August. We have learned where we can make improvements now have a better gauge of our SEA Games rivals.
Ironically, Yulo’s main rival proved to be Kitazono, 14, who had been the Filipinoís training partner in the parallel bars for the past five days in the run-up to Sundayís finals.
Kugimiya explained that the Japanese boy had a start value of 5.1 while the Filipinoís start value was 14.8, meaning that the level of difficulty of the formerís routine was higher than the latter.
If not for Kitazonoís mistake on the dismount, Yulo might have lost the gold,î the Japanese coach pointed out.
Performing as the No. 6 in the order of eight finalists, Yulo, a picture of poise and coolness, eclipsed his successors with that score of 13.825 points, leaving Chen (No. 7) and Kitazono (No. 8) as his remaining rivals.
But Chen was tentative while Kitazono wobbled when he landed in blemishing an otherwise superb performance.
Competing in the men’s vault finals of the 7th Asian Seniors Gymnastics Championships later in the day was Singapore Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Reyland Capellan, who would be the fifth gymnast to see action in the event.
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