PHI Towards Olympic Perfection 

Coming back from their recent stint at the 14th Senior and 19th Junior Artistic Gymnastics Asian Championships held in Singapore, Team Philippines’ gymnastics team goes back to training in preparation for their respective competitions and championships. Athletes took turns exhibiting routines during their training exercises inside the MVP Sports Foundation Gymnastics Center in Intramuros, Manila.


Olympic gymnast Carlos Yulo was one of the few seen on the mat. Yulo is currently training for his upcoming campaign in the 2023 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships after clearing the Asian Championships last June in Singapore. Many are curious if he would be competing in the nearing 19th Asian Games.


“World Championships is more important. We fought for that. We worked for it so we have to go,” said Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP) President Cynthia Carrion.


“The Asian Games is not an Olympic qualifier,” she added.


When asked what his goal or target is, Yulo answered, “Makapag-Olympics at manalo ng Olympic gold, syempre! Ang pinaka-goal ko is madeliver nang maayos yung performance ko sa Paris. Hopefully, makapagperform ng nasa good state.”


Team Philippines has no worries for the upcoming 19th Asian Games since we have capable gymnasts who are up to the task of bringing home sports recognition.


Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist John Ivan Cruz is one of the confirmed representatives in the Asian Games, together with Juancho Miguel Besana who qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympic berth in the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) Artistic Gymnastics in Antwerp, Belgium in September.


John Ivan Cruz is both ecstatic and nervous with the high expectations of the Filipino community especially sports fans. “Marami pa po akong kayang maipakita sa mga tao.”


Besana, on the other hand, is thrilled about him qualifying in the Worlds but he doesn’t let it get the best of him. “Back to basics and progressing sa skills ulit. Wala naman po akong masyadong iniisip about sa competitions na previous, mas iniisip ko po competitions na paparating.”


Younger sibling Karl Eldrew Yulo makes a noise for himself after snatching the silver in vault in the 2023 Asian Junior Artistic Gymnastics Championships. “I feel so proud kasi nagawa ko yun kahit di ako ganun kagaling, and masyado pa po akong kabado sa mga competitions.”


GAP can proudly say these are all possible since they have world-class training curriculums and coaches in their midst. The men’s national team is currently under the meticulous hands of the SEA Games medalist coach Reyland Capellan who devotes his time and energy into developing the artistic and calculated movements of our national athletes.


A prime candidate for the coaching position is active gymnast and SEA Games medalist Justine Ace de Leon, the current team captain of the national team.


Many younger gymnasts seek de Leon’s guidance, encouraging a semblance of an older brother in the team. As team captain, de Leon encourages his fellow gymnasts and uplifts them when they feel down or unmotivated.


The proud team captain said, ”Maraming salamat po sa mga sumuporta samin. Malaking tulong ang supporta nila kasi kung wala sila, di kami mas gagaling. Di lang kami to, or di lang sila, lahat kami, mas marereach pa namin.”


Left to right, gymnasts of different ages did their routines hoping to perfect each time. Monitoring and guiding them throughout the whole time are their dedicated coaches, all of whom are one with the gymnasts’ aspirations – these aspirations later on materializing into medals and trophies for the national team as they conquer one competition and another.


These achievements do not go past the Philippine Sports Commission. Like all national sports associations recognized by the agency, the gymnastics national team is supported and well-compensated for the selfless contributions they give the country. This is something GAP has been gracious with spreading around the sports community.


“We have medals, and we can prove ourselves. I believe the PSC sees this as well with how they are supporting us 100% and I really want to thank Chairman Richard Bachmann for it,” shared GAP President Cynthia Carrion.


Led by the visionary chief of the gymnastics national team with the support of the Philippine Sports Commission, it is with no doubt that we are now on the great journey of history-altering athletic prowess.