Carlos Yulo jacks up gold medal haul to five—and promises to win more next time

Carlos Yulo turns for a golden landing in the vault.—Contributed Photo

Carlos Yulo turns for a golden landing in the vault.—Contributed Photo

Just before Monday’s high bar, the last event of the meet, Carlos Edriel Yulo had to catch a 30-minute nap at the athletes’ area of the busy Quan Ngua Sports Palace.

Can’t blame him, he’s been carrying Team Philippines for the past three days.

He’s not complaining either. In fact, he sounded apologetic after taking his fifth gold medal—in a peculiar tie with the host country’s bet—saying next time he would want to win all seven golds at stake after bagging silver on the other two events he didn’t win.

“My mind and my body are not in sync anymore,” said Yulo in Filipino. “My mind is still here, but my body is getting tired. I even fell asleep earlier.”

He ran away with gold medals in men’s vault and then tied Dinh Phuong Thanh for the gold after they both garnered 13.876 points from the judges. “I thought I lost the high bar to Vietnam,” said Yulo.

But Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion insisted that though Yulo and Thanh both had good execution, “Caloy’s level of difficulty was high, and the [Vietnamese’s] landing was [bad]. But they told me, why are you complaining you won the gold?”

Dancers contribute

Men’s and women’s artistic proved to be the country’s stronghold with seven gold medals, five silvers and one bronze output. Rhythmic and aerobics will be played in the next few days, but they don’t have the promise of the same medal output.

“I don’t have to make any excuses, but I’m happy with what I achieved,” said Yulo. “But next time, I would like to win all the events. Because what’s the point not wanting to win it all? Maybe it sounds crazy or impossible to some people, but I want to challenge myself.”

The Philippines so far has 29 gold medals, 32 silvers and 42 bronzes, running third behind host Vietnam (80-50-53) and Thailand (34–32-50) as of 7 p.m.

Three golds came amid loud music and glittering light as defending champions Ana Nualla and Sean Aranar grabbed titles in tango, Viennese waltz and all-five standard dances in dancesport. Also winning gold there were Mark Gayon and Mary Renigen, who ruled the standard slow foxtrot top honor.

Dancesport, which produced 10 golds for the Philippines in 2019, churned out five golds counting Sunday’s triumph of Michael Angelo Marquez and Stephanie Sabalo in chachacha.

Chloe Isleta joined the roster of champions for Team PH after thumping the women’s 200-meter backstroke field late on Monday for the country’s first gold in the pool.

Merwin Tan started the day with a gold in men’s singles bowling, the country’s first since the 2011 edition.

The 22-year-old Tan, easily the country’s brightest hope in the sport, harnessed his skill from a stint last March in the World Series of Bowling which is part of the US pro tour.

Over at Tay Ho Gymnasium, Jocel Lyn Ninobla scored in the taekwondo poomsae individual, which is a regular rich source of medal for the Philippines.

Clinton Bautista defended his 110-m hurdles gold over at My Dinh National Gymnasium for the lone victory of the day for Philippine athletics.

Putting an icing on the Philippines’ most productive day—10 gold medals—was Gilas Pilipinas’ scary 76-73 triumph over hard-fighting Thailand at the start of men’s basketball. The women’s team also started its campaign with a 93-77 win over Indonesia at Thanh Tri Gymnasium.

The Philippines also brought a legend here in the person of Efren “Bata” Reyes, who made the semifinals of 1-cushion carom of billiards and snookers competition at Ha Dong Gymnasium. Reyes downed Suriya Suwanasigh of Malaysia, 65-58, to advance.

The 67-year-old Reyes, a former world champion in 8-ball and 9-ball, has been lending his star power to Team Philippines. But his participation is largely in carom, a game played on a pocket-less table using just three balls.

Boxing also started late on Monday, but the country’s Olympians—the men and women to beat in their respective weight categories—all took byes to the next rounds.

Tokyo Games silver medalist Nesthy Petecio got a free spot in the women’s featherweight quarterfinals against Myanmar’s Kay Thwe on Wednesday.

Bronze winner Eumir Felix Marcial will be awaiting a semis opponent in the men’s middle division. Irish Magno fights Novita Sinadia of Indonesia in women’s flyweight on Tuesday.

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