ONE down, six to go.
Carlos Edriel “Caloy” Yulo of the Philippines launched his 2019 Southeast Asian Games bid for a 7-gold sweep on a rousing note yesterday by bagging the gold medal in the men’s artistic gymnastics all-around event at the newly-renovated Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
Cheered on by a predominantly-Filipino crowd, Yulo scored a total of 84.00 in six routines, namely, floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars, and horizontal bars to come up with a fitting encore to his big victory in the 41st FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Germany last October.
The Vietnamese pair of Dihn Phuong Thanh and Le Thanh Tung settled for the silver and bronze medals with 82.350 and 81.700 points, respectively.
Yulo, 19, said he had to make adjustments to the difficulty of events and the atmosphere.
“Iyong sa events po, medyo matigas lang. Nag-a-adjust lang ako. It’s quite different. Here, the crowd gives more attention to the Philippine team,” said the 4-foot-11 Yulo, who added to the Philippines’ gold medal splurge on the opening day of the 11-nation regional sports spectacle.
“In Germany, nobody knows me, so I’m just doing my thing, not even scared or anything like that,” he added.
For Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion, a loss would have been a big disappointment.
“I knew it (Yulo will win). I will be surprised if he cannot win it,” said Carrion.
“I would be very disappointed if he did not win because I’ve been into different competitions and I’ve seen these gymnasts and they can’t even go to the world championship. Caloy is already there. He’s No. 8 out of 80 countries,” Carrion added.
Added Yulo: “(I want) more gymnasts or kids to come in our gym, I want the Philippine gymnastics to build Olympians.”
Yulo expectedly topped the floor exercise with 14.650 points, placed third in pommel horse with 13.600, finished second in the rings with 13.600, second in the vault with 13.600, and capped his performance with a first-place finish in the horizontal bar with 13.750 points.