Gymnastics head pins Southeast Asian Games medal hope on Yulo

January 18, 2019
Celia Kiram and Cynthia Carrion
PSC Commissioner Celia Kiram, GAP head Cynthia Carrion and MAP officials Preciosa Delarmino and Madel Claro pose with members of the TOPS during the 6th “Usapang Sports” at the National Press Club.

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.