FROM the Streets of Leveriza in Pasay where he grew up and learned the sport to the top of the world, gymnastics champion Carlos Edriel Yulo is convinced he can still do better as he sets his sights on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
And despite his rise to stardom, Yulo has kept his feet firmly on the ground.
“Pagbalik ko po sa Japan, I’ll make plans for the Olympics,” Yulo said last Tuesday night during a press conference hosted by the Philippine Sports Commission at the Century Park Hotel in Manila.
Yulo and fellow world champion Nesthy Petecio arrived in Manila last Tuesday and were joined by pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena, the first Pinoy athlete to advance to the Olympics, in the press conference.
He couldn’t help but gush at the warm welcome he was accorded, from the airport to the hotel, the same treatment that Petecio got.
“Wala po akong masabi. Sobrang nagulat ako kasi dati kapag umuuwi ako, kasama ko lang ang family ko and nagta-taxi lang kami,” Yulo said as he savored his status as the newest toast of Philippine sports.
Yulo, 19, qualified for the 2020 Olympics after he wound up 18th overall out of 160 entries in the all-around qualifying last Oct. 7 in the 41st FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
The 4-foot-11 dynamo bagged the gold in the men’s floor exercise last Oct. 12 to become the first Filipino to win a world gymnastics title.
Yulo is set to compete in the 30th Southeast Asian Games the country is hosting from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11. His backers claim he has what it takes to complete a sweep of the seven gold medals up for grabs.
PSC chairman William Ramirez announced that Yulo and Petecio will receive P1 million each from the agency as incentives for their victories.
Petecio beat Liudmila Vorontsova of Russia in their featherweight bout in the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships last Oct. 13 in Ulan-Ude, Russia.
Like Yulo, Petecio has trained hers sights on the SEA Games.
“Sa SEA Games po handa na po akong sungkitin ang ginto,” said Petecio, who hails from Davao.
While she has not qualified for the Olympics yet, Petecio vowed to make it to the podium in the Asian Olympic qualifying tournament in China next year to gain a berth in the Tokyo Games.
“Iyon nga po nakakaiingit po kasi dapat nga itong world namin qualifying na din po ito pero biglang nagbago po ang AIBA rules,” she said.
“Sayang, sayang talaga kasi qualified na po dapat tayo. (Pero) hahabol po ako. Kapag naka-bronze ka na po doon (in China) qualify na po. So malaking tsansa po.”
Yulo and Petecio were set to pay a courtesy call on President Duterte yesterday.