AFTER slumping in his pet floor exercise event, Olympic qualifier Carlos Edriel Yulo sprang back strong and won a silver medal with a score of 14.733 points in the men’s vault event last Tuesday in the prestigious All-Japan Seniors Gymnastics Championships at the Takashi Arena in Gunma.
Yulo shared runner-up honors with Japanese Rio Olympic Games gold medalist and five-time world champion Kenzo Shirai behind Wataru Tanigawa, a team bronze medalist at the 2019 world championships in Stuttgart, Germany, who tallied 14.900 points.
His performance was better than the 14.600 points he scored when he finished 10th in the men’s all-around event at the worlds last year.
In the 2019 edition of the tough meet featuring Japan’s premier gymnasts, Yulo scored 14.80 points in the floor exercise to finish in a tie for the gold medal with Japanese world and Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura.
The diminutive gymnast, the country’s most bemedalled athlete with two gold and five silver medals in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, made an error executing a new element in the floor exercise that led to a low score of 13.966 points, good for 19th place.
This was far below his gold-medal winning performance of 15.300 points in Stuttgart, capping an outstanding performance that enabled him to emerge as the country’s second Olympic-bound athlete after pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena.
“We introduced two new elements in the floor exercise and he committed a mistake in one of them,” noted Japanese national men’s team coach Munehiro Kugimiya of Yulo’s so-so showing in the floor exercise.
Yulo finished 12th overall out of 91 entries in the one-day competition after completing all six apparatuses with a combined output of 83.398 points in the event topped by Kazuma Kaya, a parallel bar bronze medalist in Stuttgart, with a tally of 86.998 points
It was the first outing for the country’s latest sports hero, a protégé of the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines, since his successful debut in the SEA Games last December.
Kugimiya, who has been coaching the national team since 2015, said Yulo will prepare next for a tournament in Japan in December as part of his build-up for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games next year.