MANILA, Philippines – Gymnast Carlos Yulo heads into 2023 with a clear goal: To make it back to the Olympics by hurdling the all-around top 8 of the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium in September.
It will be a tougher draw this time around for the Tokyo Olympian as 15 of the 94 slots in the 2024 Paris Games have already been secured by gymnasts from China, Japan, and England.
“I will look to complete my new skills that will be used in 2024… there is no pressure [even if I commit mistakes],” Yulo told Rappler in Filipino.
“Of course, what I meant was to not be lackadaisical… It’s okay to make mistakes in the skills I haven’t mastered, but it’s crucial to make it to the world championships, since it’s an important competition for me and that will be the highlight of 2023.”
Yulo, who’s back in the country training in the newly inaugurated training facility funded by sports patron Manny V. Pangilinan in Intramuros, Manila, had not reduced his load despite the Yuletide festivities.
Yulo said he he practices with coach Munehiro Kugimiya for two hours in the morning and three to four during their afternoon sessions.
Kugimiya said he’s aiming for Yulo to be the top all-around gymnast following the 2024 Asian Championships. And the pint-sized Filipino star vowed to be ready for the hard grind.
“I understand [the harder process] and I see it as well… I have no choice but to do my best and improve on what I can, do all I can to qualify for the Olympics,” said Yulo, who has been based in Japan the past years.
To qualify for the Olympics, the 22-year-old can also rack up enough points in four key meets in Cottbus, Germany; Doha, Qatar; Baku, Azerbaijan; and Cairo, Egypt.
While in the country, Yulo, along with several other gymnasts such as Fil-Am Aleah Finnegan, were feted by the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP) and KG Management in a recent ceremony at the Heritage Hotel in Pasay.
Other award recipients include Kugimiya as the Coach of the Year, Miguel Besana (men’s artistic gymnastics), Carl Joshua Tangonan (men’s aerobics), Charmaine Dolar (women’s aerobics), and Breana Labadan (women’s rhythmic gymnastics).
In 2022, Yulo hauled in the most number of medals in the Philippine contingent during the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Vietnam, copping five golds and two silver medals.
He followed it up with three golds and a silver medal in the 9th Artistic Gymnastics Asian Senior Championships in Doha, Qatar.
To cap off his season, Yulo brought home a silver and a bronze, respectively, in the men’s vault and parallel bars events during the 41st FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Liverpool, England. – Rappler.com