Gymnastics: Carlos Yulo hopes siblings can join him in national team

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 27 2021 05:10 PM

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MANILA, Philippines -- Carlos Edriel Yulo has elevated the profile of Philippine gymnastics with his exploits at the world stage, but his greatest impact is felt at home.

Following in Yulo's footsteps are his younger siblings, 13-year-old Eldrew and 12-year-old Eliza.

"Hindi po 'yun nagpapatalo," Caloy told reporters on Tuesday, when asked about his younger brother who is already a champion at the national level.

The younger Yulos still have quite a long way to go to reach the level of their brother, who on Sunday became a world champion once again when he won gold in the vault at the 2021 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan.

Caloy also won silver in the parallel bars, making up for the disappointment of Saturday when a 0.3 deduction cost him a chance to defend his title in the floor exercise.

Philippine's Carlos Yulo in action during the men's parallel bar final. Kim Kyung-Hoon, Reuters.
Philippine's Carlos Yulo in action during the men's parallel bar final. Kim Kyung-Hoon, Reuters.

For the 21-year-old Caloy, the possibility of one day representing the country together with his siblings is one of his great motivations in the sport.

"Gusto ko pong makalaro talaga 'yung kapatid ko po, si Eldrew. Gusto ko pong mahintay siya until 2028," he said, referring to the 2028 Summer Olympics that will be held in Los Angeles, California.

"Siguro po last ko po 'yung 2028, pero hindi pa din po siya decided, kasi what if kaya ko pa po? Hindi naman po ako basta-basta titigil lang po," he added. 

"And gusto ko din makita 'yung kapatid ko po, si Eliza, na makapag-Olympics po eh. Like, maging team po kami eh, na makakapunta po kami ng Olympics. Sobrang cool po noon."

Eliza was one of Caloy's inspirations in the world championships, as she celebrated her 12th birthday on Sunday. When asked what gift he got his sister, Caloy smiled widely and answered: "Gold medal po."

The Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP), meanwhile, is already fully behind Eldrew, with federation president Cynthia Carrion-Norton saying that the teenager will likely train abroad as well. Caloy has been based in Japan since 2016, where he is trained by Munehiro Kugimiya.

"We're paying for his schooling and we're starting to support him," Carrion-Norton said of Eldrew. "Eventually, Eldrew will also be going abroad, when he's old enough for training."

Carrion-Norton has high expectations for Eldrew, and believes that he can be the Philippines' "next gold medalist." However, Caloy said he is not trying to put too much pressure on his younger siblings and wants them to simply enjoy the sport first -- just as he did when he was starting out in gymnastics.

"'Di po ako nage-expect sa kanilang dalawa po na i-push nila ang sarili nila. Gusto ko lang ma-enjoy nila 'yung pagiging atleta po eh," he said. "Doon naman din po 'yun, doon din po ako nagsimula din. Hindi naman po agad-agad na seryosohan."

"Kasi, bata pa po 'yun eh. Mas magkaka-experience pa po 'yun. And iba po 'yung na-experience ko sa mae-experience po nila. Excited lang po ako para sa kanilang dalawa," he added.

Caloy expects to be reunited with his family for the Christmas holidays, although he will first compete in the All-Japan Championships in December before going home to the Philippines for the first time in two years.