Gymnastics star Carlos Yulo kicked off his world title defense strong after finishing first in the floor exercise and parallel bars categories in the 50th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships qualifiers in Kitakyushu, Japan on Wednesday, October 20.
The 21-year-old Olympian also finished third in the vault category, putting him in prime position to compete for three gold medals starting this Saturday, October 23.
Despite a two-hour delay to the event due to COVID disinfection protocols, Yulo kept it snappy and flawless in his floor exercise title defense, and finished ahead of the pack with a score of 15.166 for his pet event.
Italian Nicola Bartolini and Japanese Kazuki Minami tallied 14.966 points apiece, good for second and third in the eight-man finalist group. They will go for gold on Saturday, October 23, at 3:10 pm, Manila time.
Yulo also topped the parallel bars scoreboard with a score of 15.566, leapfrogging a pair of Chinese gymnasts, Boheng Zhang (15.300) and Xuwei Hu (15.233). Their gold-medal event will be held on Sunday, October 24, at 5 pm.
The pride of Malate, Manila registered a score of 14.808 in the vault event, barely lagging joint leaders Ukranian Nazar Chepurnyi (14.833), and South Korean Hakseon Yang (14.833). They will have their final round also on Sunday at 3:25 pm.
Following a heartbreaking Tokyo Olympics run where he bombed off the floor event, and barely missed the bronze in vault, Yulo remains in Japan with a renewed fire to bounce back, and retain his place among the world’s best gymnasts.
“I wanted to step up my game. I didn’t want to make the same mistakes,” he told the International Gymnastics Federation.
“I feel all of this competition will be revenge, all of it,” he said. “This is like the Olympics. Every competition, big or small, I’m going to treat like it’s the Olympics.”