MANILA, Philippines, March 18 ------ Filipino world champion Carlos Yulo has returned to Japan nursing an injury sustained during the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique Apparatus World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan over the weekend. Once the injury heals, he will resume training for the Tokyo Olympics scheduled in July. “He is back in Japan and he will focus back on training,” said Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion. “Unfortunately, he (Yulo) got injured so he did not perform very well.” Yulo skipped his pet floor exercise event, which he ruled in the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany last year.
Instead, the 20-year-old resident of Leveriza, Manila competed in the parallel bars and vault where he suffered a cut in his right palm. The finals that was originally set last Sunday was cancelled as all participants were sent home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Even though Yulo’s performance was off, his true intention was to scout the opposition in Baku. “What’s important for us is that we saw his competitors in the Olympics,” said Carrion.
Yulo is the country’s best hope to win the elusive gold in the Olympics following his impressive performance in Stuttgart where he booked the spot to the Summer Games. Pole-vaulter EJ Obiena and boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno have also landed spots in the Tokyo Olympics. Yulo was joined in Baku by compatriots Jag Timbang and Ace de Leon, who have both returned home to the Philippines. Timbang competed in the floor exercise and vault while De Leon vied in the floors.
“All in all, we were very nervous but did quite well. Best score (of Yulo) was 14:166 and lowest 11:066 and Jag 12:650 and Ace 12:133,” said Carrion. Carrion said locking down the training center at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex due to the COVID-19 outbreak may hamper the training of the local gymnasts. “There is a lockdown in our gym so how can we prepare our athletes? One day without training is a big deal. All the other countries, their facilities are open for training except in the Philippines,” she said.