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MANILA, Philippines – Carlos Yulo admitted there are “pros and cons” of switching coaches after parting ways with his longtime Japanese mentor Munehiro Kugimiya.
In his first major tournament without Kugimiya, Yulo missed the all-around final in the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, after an ill-fated qualification that saw him land flat on his back twice.
Yulo is accompanied by Filipino tactician Aldrin Castañeda in Antwerp.
“He is not a new coach. He is my old coach back when I was a junior. So it is kind of the same, but of course, there are pros and cons to it,” Yulo told US gymnastics channel Neutral Deductions in an interview in Antwerp when asked about the coaching change.
“My [former] coach, his knowledge is more top-tier. But experience-wise, my coach (Castañeda) and I really got it.”
Kugimiya took Yulo under his wing when the then-teenager accepted an offer to train in Japan under a scholarship program in 2016.
With the Japanese coach guiding him, Yulo won a pair of world titles in floor exercise and vault, four golds in the World Cup Series, six in the Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships, and nine in the Southeast Asian Games.
Yulo also became the first Filipino gymnast to see action in the Olympics since 1968 when he qualified for the Tokyo Games.
That fruitful partnership, though, ended recently as Yulo opted to continue his career without Kugimiya.
So it’s no surprise that Yulo’s uncharacteristic mishap during the all-around qualification in the Worlds put a spotlight on his coaching switch, amid talks of personal issues involving his family, girlfriend and content creator Chloe Anjeleigh San Jose, and other career decisions.
“It’s really different,” said Yulo when asked to compare his experience in the previous and current worlds. “Right now I’m kinda disappointed, but at the same time grateful that I’m still here standing. It’s not like a really a big accident that happened to me today. But mentally, a bit confused why like that… things happen. But yeah, I’ll get back.”
Still, Yulo got the job done in Antwerp and qualified for the Paris Olympics, also justifying his decision to skip the ongoing Asian Games.
Yulo advanced to the floor exercise final of the world event after placing third in the qualification behind Israel’s Artem Dolgopyat and the USA’s Frederick Richard as he looks to recapture his crown in the apparatus he ruled four years ago.
“I want to win a gold medal. But of course, I want to deliver a good performance first before the result,” said Yulo.
The floor exercise final, which also includes Japan’s Daiki Hashimoto and Kazuki Minami, Canada’s Felix Dolci, Kazakhstan’s Milad Karimi, and Great Britain’s Harry Hepworth, is set on Saturday, October 7. – Rappler.com