STUTTGART – Continuing to improve by leaps and bounds, Carlos Edriel Yulo joined elite company in placing 10th overall in the men’s all-around finals of the 49th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships at the Hans Martin Schleyer Halle here on Friday.
Relieved of the pressure of having to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Yulo displayed poise and elan in scoring a personal best of 84.048 points over the six apparatuses for another gymnastics milestone for the Philippines in the hotly-contested event.
In a riveting duel between two Russians, Nikita Nagornyy scored 88.772 points to dethrone defending champion Artur Dalaloyan (87.165) for the all-around gold while Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaev (86.973) settled for bronze in front of an animated crowd of 14,000 at the 15,000-seat arena.
“First time ko pong maka-iskor ng 84-plus kaya talagang mataas po iyon. Tagang masaya ko dahil duon,” said the gymnast, smiling, after finishing 18th in the all-around qualifiers with 82.164 points last Monday that secured him a slot to Tokyo.
Had he not qualified then, Yulo's 10th-place finish in the all-around finals guaranteed him of qualifying for Tokyo since the top 12 finishers, unless they previously qualified, would advance to next year’s Olympics.
It was also a dramatic rise in the event for Yulo, whose stint here is funded by the Philippine Sports Commission, after merely finishing 23rd out of 24 finalists with a score of 77.464 points in the previous edition of the blue-ribbon competition held in Doha, Qatar last year.
“The performance of Caloy (Yulo’s nickname) is really outstanding considering that those in the top 10 are Russians, Chinese, Japanese and Americans, who are the best in gymnastics,” noted Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion.
“With this kind of performance, I believe he will be able to win a medal in the floor exercise on Saturday,” added Carrion of the boy’s final event on Saturday in this annual gymnastics showcase featuring the top gymnasts worldwide winding up on Sunday.
“Di po katulad last Monday na kabado po ako. Sabi ni coach Mune (Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya) huwag ako matakot mag-kamali and enjoy. Pero nag-ingat din po ako na di malaglag,” Yulo bared of his loose and relaxed outing Friday night.
As expected, the Pinoy campaigner played to his strengths, scoring high in his forte, the floor exercise (14.633), vault (14.600), and, surprisingly, the parallel bars where he posted his best of 14.833 points. His lowest score was in the pommel horse (12.816) while he had 13.500 in the horizontal bar.
His tally might have been higher if not for .01 penalties he incurred in the floor and vault, respectively, for slightly moving out of legal landing area.
“Yon talaga ang dapat kong mag-improve yong landing,” stressed Yulo, who is keen on surpassing his bronze-medal finish in the floor exercise at the 2018 worlds in Doha.
“Kaya po natin yon (maka-gold),” he replied confidently of his intent in his pet event that would guarantee him another platform to display his skills and talent in the quadrennial meet in Tokyo next year.