The curtain rises Wednesday for the biggest gymnastics’ event in the country this year—the 19th Junior and 14th Senior Rhythmic Gymnastics Asian Championships—at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila.
It will be the first time the twin events will be staged in the country behind the partnership between the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Sports Commission.
Close to 200 gymnasts from 20 countries will vie in the event that runs until May 3 and serves as qualifier for the 40th FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Valencia, Spain in August.
Competition manager Anna Lou Carreon and GAP deputy secretary-general Rowena Bautista graced the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex yesterday.
According to Carreon, the competing countries are China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Taipei, Uzbekistan and Vietnam then Australia and New Zealand from the Asia-Oceania Zone.
World champion Carlos Yulo is not vying in the event that offers 16 gold medals but the GAP assured that the country will field bets, who may be the next Carlos Yulo.
“In this event we might see the future of Philippine gymnastics,” said Carreon in the forum presented by San Miguel Corporation, MILO, Philippine Sports Commission, POC, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
Bautista said gymnasts to watch out for include those from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, China, Japan and Korea, including last year’s all-around champion from Uzbekistan, Takhimina Ikromova.
Leading the local bid in events such as hoop, ball, ribbon and club are Breanna Labadan, Daniela dela Pisa and Trisha Mae Montefalcon in the senior individual and Jasmine Ramillo and Cristalin Zoe Valencia in the junior individual. Angelika Leigh Buenavidez, Andrea Mae Emperado, Jenny Eusebio, Katrina Loretizo and Divina Sembrano banner the senior group.
Bautista said only 500-600 spectators will be allowed per day, including students, free of charge. The ticketing will be limited to foreign delegates and their respective guests.