MANILA, Philippines – Lofty expectations await teen gymnast Carlos Yulo in his bid for a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but he's just sure of one thing: the rewards will come with hard work.
Following a historic bronze in the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in November, the 18-year-old is already a favorite to deliver a medal – possibly a gold – for the Philippines in the next Olympiad.
But first, he has to qualify for the world's grandest sporting stage.
"Malaki naman 'yung chances kung mas pagbubutihin ko. Kaya naman," said Yulo during his homecoming party at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex on Friday, December 28.
(There is a high chance I can make it to the Olympics if I give it my best. It's doable.)
Spending most of the year in Japan where he trains and studies, Yulo is here in the country to spend the holidays with his family before he goes back to focus on his quest for an Olympic berth.
Yulo has plenty of ways to punch his ticket to Tokyo.
First, he can earn points in multiple World Cups next year or impress in the World Championships, where a top 12 finish in the all-around and a top 3 finish in the 6 apparatus events assure him of an Olympic seat.
The results of his exploits in 2018 all point to him qualifying for the quadrennial showpiece.
He then landed at 23rd place in the all-around final of the world championships before wrapping up his campaign with a bronze in the men's floor final – a first for the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
"Hindi confident, pero sa sarili ko, alam kong kaya ko (I don't say I'm confident, but in my heart I know I can do it)," Yulo added.
It is a different case with Yulo's Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya, who is more than certain that his ward will reach the Olympics.
"Sure, he can go to the Olympics. 120 percent," said Kugimiya. "That's why I'm here. Very hard training, we have to continue. Kaya natin 'yan (We can do it)."
Yulo recently got rewarded for his hard work as he received a P250,000 incentive from the Philippine Sports Commission for his triumph in the worlds.
But the teen sensation has less than a week to enjoy his holiday break with his family before he flies back to Japan on January 5 to resume training. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.