MANILA -- The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has once again expressed its hope that Filipino gymnast Carlos Yulo will compete in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China instead of the world championships in Belgium.
The schedule of the two competitions overlap: the Asiad is scheduled for September 23 to October 8, while the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships will take place from September 29 to October 8.
The world championships is a qualifier for next year's Olympic Games in Paris, while the Asian Games are not. Cynthia Carrion-Norton, the president of the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP), has already announced that Yulo will prioritize the world championships in Antwerp to pursue his spot in the Olympics.
But POC President Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino has asked GAP and Yulo to reconsider their position.
"It's going to be a win-win for Team Philippines in the Asian Games because all the gymnastics powerhouse countries will be competing in the world championships," said Tolentino during last week’s POC general assembly in a restaurant in Paranaque City.
"So Yulo has a strong opportunity of sweeping all the events in Hangzhou," he added.
Tolentino further pointed out that Yulo will amass great financial incentives if he wins a gold medal in Hangzhou. The government’s incentive program gifts P2 million for gold, P1 million for silver and P400,000 for bronze in the Asian Games.
"I believe he can get all the medals, especially gold in the Asian Games. At the same time, the incentives he can get there are higher," he said.
Yulo is included in the “entry by name” list consisting of 426 athletes that the POC sent to the Hangzhou organizers. He has also earned a berth to Antwerp by virtue of his strong performance in previous International Gymnastics Federation world cup competitions.
Carrion-Norton, who was present in the POC general assembly, said the GAP will evaluate the suggestion of Tolentino.
"All the members of the POC general assembly are begging for gymnastics to consider playing in the Asian Games," Tolentino said. "We have already asked them to look for other Olympic qualifying events. Belgium is just the first Olympic qualifying event and there are many [qualifying events]."
"Based on research, there are more other Olympic qualifiers by next year which is not that difficult so all POC members are begging for gymnastics to let Caloy play."
Other Olympic qualifiers in gymnastics include the 2024 Apparatus World Cup series from January to March and the 2024 continental championships in April and May.
The Philippines is hoping to improve upon its performance from the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, where Filipina athletes won four gold medals. Aside from Yulo, the POC is pinning its hopes on world No. 3 pole vaulter EJ Obiena.