Yulo competes in Baku

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    WORLD floor exercise gymnastics champion Carlos Edriel Yulo will have his first international competition this year when he competes in the FIG World Cup series on March 12-15 in Baku, Azerbaijan, according to Gymnastics Association of the Philippines secretary general Bettina Pou.

    Now training in Tokyo, the Olympic-bound Yulo is set to leave for the Azerbaijani capital with Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya early next week, Pou told Malaya Business Insight.

    Pou said the trip is funded by the Philippine Sports Commission and part of Yulo’s preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games in July, which will be his first overseas engagement since emerging as the country’s most bemedalled athlete in the last Southeast Asian Games with two gold and five silver medals.

    The FIG World Cup leg is also an Olympic qualifying event and will feature competitions in the floor exercise, pommel horse, rings, parallel bars, horizontal high bar and vault. The topnotchers in each of the apparatus after the four-leg series will earn spots in the Tokyo Games.

    Yulo emerged as the country’s second Olympic qualifier after pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena with a brilliant performance in the 40th FIG Artistic Gymnastics world championships in Stuttgart, Germany last October.

    He earned his spot in Tokyo by placing No. 18 in the men’s artistic gymnastics all-around qualifiers and improved on his showing by placing 10th overall in the finals.