How Caloy Yulo assessed his first pre-world championships workout

Manolo Pedralvez

Posted at Oct 28 2022 01:26 PM

Yulo said his first training for the gymnastics world championships in Liverpool was 'pretty tough', but he knows now what he needs to work on. EPA-EFE/file
Yulo said his first training for the gymnastics world championships in Liverpool was "pretty tough", but he knows now what he needs to work on. EPA-EFE/file

Carlos Edriel Yulo found it “pretty tough” in his first day of podium training Thursday (early morning Friday in Manila) at the M&S Bank Arena, site of the 41st FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships starting Saturday in Liverpool, England.

“It was pretty tough today (Thursday), a lot of struggles. The rotation is pretty quick,” Yulo said of his workout in subdivision 6 where he is grouped together with the top men’s gymnasts in the competition.

After some reflection, the pint-sized phenom added: “It (the practice) was not really that bad. I did everything I could for today. I made a lot of mistakes, but I know that what I am going to do tomorrow or at the next training.”

One of the marked men in the meet as the reigning men’s world vault champion, Yulo said, “Honestly, I am not used to it. I know some gymnasts look up to me, but it’s still a big thing for me.”

It was the first day of official training for the Filipino athlete at the modern multi-purpose arena that has around a seating capacity of 10,600 that is owned by the Liverpool City Council.

His initial workout actually was last Wednesday in the neighboring city Manchester, a day after arriving from his five-day training camp in Paris, France, because there was no available gym for him to train in Liverpool, according to gymnastics head Cynthia Carrion. 

“There was no training hall (Wednesday) in Liverpool so I had to organize for him to train at a gym in Manchester. Caloy (Yulo’s nickname) cannot afford to have a day without training with the world championships so near,” said Carrion, who arrived in England ahead of the gymnast last Tuesday.

“I’m getting nervous (for Yulo)!!” she exclaimed of the country’s most bemedalled athlete in the last 31st Vietnam Southeast Asian Games of the country’s high expectation of his stint at the worlds funded mainly by the Philippine Sports Commission.

During an online press briefing last Monday, Yulo announced that he was keen on retaining his vault crown on top regaining his floor exercise title, improving on his silver-medal finish in the parallel bars as well as a top 6 finish in the difficult all-around event. 

Asked about gymnastics developments back home, Yulo, 22, proudly pointed to his younger siblings, Karl Eldrew, 14, and Eliza, 12, as slowly making their own names in the sport.

“My brother (Karl Eldrew) and sister (Eliza), they’re really good. If you compare me to them when I was their age (14 and 12) – I started late – they’re pretty quick (to learn and play),” he said.

Among those impressed by Karl Eldrew was Japanese men’s gymnastics head coach Hiroaki Sato, who conducted a training course at the GAP national training center in Intramuros, Manila under the auspices of the FIG.

The younger Yulo siblings are seeing action in an age group Thailand gymnastics competition next month.

On the other hand, their elder brother will plunge into action at the worlds on Monday with the men’s all-around qualifiers, with the top 24 finishes advancing to the finals on November 4.

The 8 top performers in each of the six apparatuses – floor exercise, pommel horse, vault, rings, parallel bars and high bar – will see action in the apparatus finals on November 5 and 6, respectively.