MANILA, Philippines — Caloy Yulo is coming close to realizing his Olympic dream and will become the first Filipino gymnast to compete in the Summer Games in 52 years if he qualifies for Tokyo in 2020. Only 50 slots are available for the men’s individual quota in the all-around and six apparatus events but Yulo, 18, is making incredible strides in slowly inching in to snatch a ticket to the Olympics.

After bagging the bronze in floor exercise at the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) World Championships in Doha last Oct. 25-Nov. 3, Yulo took third place in the same event at the World Challenge Cup in Cottbus, Germany, last Nov. 21-25 and finished second in floor, vault and parallel bars at the Toyota International in Toyota City, Japan, last Dec. 8-9.

Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP) president Cynthia Carrion said Yulo is on track for an Olympic berth. “He’s really looking good and gaining more confidence,” she said. “Caloy is back in the gym in Tokyo but will come home a few days before Christmas to be with his family. In Cottbus, the applause that he got was amazing. He’s getting closer to the Olympics and he promised a gold medal next time.”

There are several competitions where gymnasts may qualify for the Olympics. Tickets will be earned from the recent World Championships in Doha, the Apparatus World Cup series from Nov. 2018 to March 2020, the World Championships in Stuttgart on Oct. 4-15, 2019, the 2020 All-Around World Cup series in March-April, 2020 and the 2020 Continental Championships for each region. Gymnasts pile up qualifying points along the way. Carrion said if Yulo lands another podium finish at the next World Championships in Stuttgart, it will be an automatic qualification for Tokyo.

In Cottbus, Yulo was accompanied by coach Munehiro Kugiyama and therapist Jumpei Konne. He competed in the floor exercise and parallel bars. In the floor qualifying, Yulo placed second of 37 from 24 countries with a total score of 14.9 points, broken down into 6.2 for difficulty and 8.7 for execution. He went on to claim the bronze with a score of 14.5 behind Israel’s Artem Dolgopyat (14.8) and the Netherlands’ Casimir Schmidt (14.5). Yulo and Schmidt were tied but while the Filipino had more points in difficulty, 6.2 to 5.9, he had less in execution, 8.3 to 8.6.

In the parallel bars qualifying, Yulo finished ninth of 29 with 14 points on 5.7 in difficulty and 8.3 in execution. He failed to make the eight-man cut for the final. The Cottbus event brought in top gymnasts from the US, Russia, France, Australia, Kazakhstan and Spain.

At the Toyota International, Yulo was joined by two other Filipino gymnasts Reyland Capellan, 25, and Rafael Ablaza, 21. Capellan struck gold in floor at the 2015 and 2017 Southeast Asian Games while Ablaza beat Yulo in the all-around event at the 2013 Philippine National Games. Yulo and Ablaza represented the Philippines at the World Cup in Melbourne this year.

Yulo scored 14.775 points in floor, good for a silver, but was scratched from the Toyota standings because of his podium finish at the last World Championships, giving a chance for others to bag a medal. Capellan ended up eighth with 12.275 points and Ablaza, No. 11 with 11.925. 

In vault, Yulo pocketed the silver with 13.937 points behind South Korea’s Shin Jea Hwan with 14.2. Capellan took fourth with 13.75. In the parallel bars, Yulo won another silver with 14.4 points behind Japan’s Kazuma Kaya with 14.55. Yulo was tied with Japan’s Kakeru Tanigawa for second but clinched the silver because he had more points in execution, 8.7 to 8.4 although less in difficulty, 5.7 to 6.0. Ablaza came in 11th with 11.575. The Toyota competition featured gymnasts from 10 countries, including the UK, Germany, Canada and Chinese-Taipei.

Carrion said Yulo’s next event is the FIG World Cup in Melbourne on Feb. 21-24. “Coach Mune wants Caloy to focus on the gold,” she said. “He’s not content with silver or bronze. Coach Mune is preparing Caloy’s mind to get the gold and not settle for anything less.”



Date: December 12, 2018  | Newspaper: Philippine Star | Source: https://www.philstar.com/sports/2018/12/12/1876347/caloy-yulo-nears-living-olympic-dream