FINISHING with a flourish, Carlos Edriel Yulo topped the floor exercise and qualified in two more apparatus finals after winding up a strong third with a score of 84.664 points early Tuesday morning (Monday night in England) in the men’s all-around qualifiers of the 51st FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Liverpool, England.
Seeing action in his last event, Yulo, the 2019 world men's floor exercise champion, did not disappoint in his forte, tallying 15.266 points to bag top spot, overtaking erstwhile Japanese leader Doi Ryosuke (14.766). Kazakhkstan’s Milad Karimi was third with 14.733 points.
His superb performance at the M&S Bank Arena capped a big night for the diminutive Filipino phenom, who placed third in the all-around qualifiers behind the 1-2 Japanese finish of Wataru Tanigawa (84.731) and Tokyo Olympic men’s all-around champion Daiki Hashimoto (84.665).
The country’s most bemedaled athlete with five gold and two silver medals in the 31st Vietnam Southeast Asian Games, Yulo easily advanced to the final of the men’s all-around on Friday where he just might gain a podium finish in the tough event based on his form last night.
He also sustained his drive of defending his men’s vault crown in scoring 14.849 points to place a close second in the qualifiers behind Armenia’s Artur Davtyan (14.900) while Romania’s Gabriel Bourtanete ( 14.466) was third.
Yulo might have even taken first place had he not incur a .10 penalty on his first attempt that dragged his score down to 14.733, but surged back with a high score of 14.966 on his second try. Without the penalty, his average score was 14.915.
The pint-sized Pinoy athlete also kept in sight of his target of three golds after scoring 15.300 to finish fourth in the parallel bars, an event where he earned silver in the 2021 edition of the blue-ribbon competition in Kitakyushu, Japan.
“This was a wonderful outing by Caloy (Yulo’s), especially his third place finish in the men’s all-around qualifiers, and reaching the finals of the floor exercise, vault and parallel bars. A truly remarkable performance by a remarkable athlete,” noted gymnastics head Cynthia Carrion from Liverpool.
Carrion revealed that Yulo skipped dinner and only had it after his competition that ended near midnight in the birthplace of the renowned British band the Beatles.
Despite his splendid showing, the gymnast kept his feet firmly planted on the ground, saying: “It’s a really good result but it’s just the qualifying. I’m not being boastful, it’s not the final yet so I can do it in the final maybe I will say I am satisfied."
Yulo was keen on giving the Wataru and Hashimoto a run for their money given that he was within striking distance of the top two Japanese qualifiers in the men’s all-around.
“Of course, I would like to beat them. This is the first time I’m going to be in the first group and it is a big, big achievement for me,” he noted
The pommel horse and high bar were the two events where he had the lowest scores of 11.766 and 13.533, respectively, and failed to qualify for the finals of either as only the top eight finishers in the qualifiers advance.
Of his miserable form on the pommel horse, Yulo explained “that my wrist is painful and I cannot really put 100 per cent into it, but it happens. I didn’t think anything negative about that, I just moved on. I switched my focus to the things that I still could do.”
But he was pleased in executing a new skill — the ri se-gwang, a backward full-twisting double tucked Tsukahara, named after North Korean creator and Rio Olympic men’s vault gold medalist Ri Se-gwang — in the men’s vault, despite some anxiety in doing it.
“(The) vault was really scary, that’s my first time doing the ri se-gwang so that’s really big for me. It gave me confidence right now to compete in the finals,” Yulo said, adding “In parallel bars I’m really glad I made it to the finals and of course I did my best and I’m really grateful and happy.”
Asked how he would prepare for the finals of all four events he would see action in beginning Friday, Yulo replied: “I’m going to try to beat what I did today, to be more aggressive.”
The men’s all-around final is on Friday, and the apparatus medal rounds are set on Saturday (floor exercise) and Sunday (vault and parallel bars), all Liverpool time.
FROM THE ARCHIVES