ELEVEN gold medals --seven by 2018 World Artistic Gymnastics bronze medalist Carlos Yulo -- are on the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines’ mind come the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
That’s more than half of the total 19 golds at stake in gymnastics during the biennial competition scheduled Nov. 30-Dec. 11 in Manila and satellite venues in Clark, Subic, Cavite and Batangas.
Ask GAP president Cynthia Carrion.
“If things turn out as planned, we’re good for 11 out of 19 events to be disputed in the SEA Games, said Carrion during her appearance in the 6th “Usapang Sports” presented by the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) at the National Press Club in Intramuros last Thursday.
“And Caloy (Yulo) is good for seven golds,” added Carrion, who graced the women power-inspired sports session supported by the National Press Club.
Carrion was referring to Yulo,who became the “Poster Boy” of Philippine gymnastics after winning the bronze medal in the floor exercise of the 2018 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Carrion, also a member of the board of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), said GAP has prepared an extensive training program aimed at bringing the best out of Yulo.
“He’s ready and his training under his Japanese coach is getting better and better. He’s better than last year’s Asian Games, physically and mentally,” explained Carrion.
“Aside for the SEA Games, GAP is already preparing a program for Yulo for his participation in tournament abroad all with ranking points so he can qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games.”
In the same weekly TOPS session, the Muay Association of the Philippines vowed to win six or seven gold medals.
“Pinaghahandaan na ng Muay Association of the Philippines ang darating na SEA Games kung saan may 11 events ang muay,” said national team coach Preciosa Delarmino.
“We have a chance of winning the gold in more than half of the events, especially in the women events,” added Delarmino, who was accompanied by Mardel Claro, the country’s first female international muay technical official.
Delarmino was referring to women athletes Rudza Abubakar of Zamboanga in the 45-kg and Jenelyn Olsim of Baguio in the 54-kg division in the combat event.
She also noted that the tandem of Mariah Trenyce Co and Rusha Mae Tarrate of Baguio is also favored to bag the gold in the wai kru (Thai boxing dance) event.
Claro, on the otherhand, said MAP has lined up a series of tournaments here and abroad to fine-tune the SEA Games-bound muay athletes.
“We have the Arafura Games in Australia in April, the IFMA (International Federation of Muay thai Amateur) Senior World Championship in Bangkok, the World Martial Arts in Korea in August, the IFMA Youth in Turkey in September and of course, the SEAG in November,” Claro said.
“Locally, we have the Visayas leg in Cebu next month, Mindanao leg in Butuan in July, Luzon leg in Olongapo in April, the Beach Games in Iloilo also in April, the Southern Luzon and NCR leg in June, Women’s Martial Arts Festival in October and PSC’s Batang Pinoy and Philippine National Games.