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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Look who’s cooking

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CARLOS YULO, perhaps the best bet to win the country’s first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, doesn’t spend his entire day training.

He cooks, too.

“He loves to cook, and most of the time, he cooks his own meals,” Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion-Norton told BusinessMirror on Friday as she and national rhythmic gymnast AJ Melgar sat at the holding area after getting their second dose of Sinovac vaccines at the Manila Prince Hotel.

A typical day for Yulo, according to Carrion-Norton, is simply typical.

“He wakes up at six, eats breakfast—which is all Filipino, say like boneless bangus with rice and eggs, hard-boiled or fried,” she said. “Then he goes to school, face-to-face school.”

Yulo, 21, is taking up Management freshman at the Teikyo University.

“Then he goes home for lunch, which again is typically Filipino, before heading to the gym for his afternoon training,” Carrion-Norton said. “He stops training at 7 p.m. and with his typical day over, he gets the chance to cook.”

Yulo is also perhaps the only Filipino Tokyo Olympics qualifier—they are 15 at the moment—who has shunned media interviews with Carrion-Norton drawing criticism that she’s become over protective of the gymnast.

But Carrion-Norton said it’s Yulo himself who doesn’t want to be in the media limelight.

“Caloy’s shy, very shy. He doesn’t feel comfortable getting media interviews,” she said. “That’s why he asked me to do the talking.”

Yulo’s shyness, however, is not the only reason why he’s close to being reclusive.

“He wants to focus on his training. The Olympics are less than a month away and he wants to fully concentrate on his goal,” she added.

Yulo’s goal?

“He’s good for the gold medal in floor exercise where he won the world championship [in 2019 in Stuttgart, Germany] and a silver in vault,” Carrion-Norton said. “We are also looking at Caloy making the finals of the parallel bars.”

Carrion-Norton admitted Yulo won’t be going after the all-around gold.

“Let his rivals go for that gold. For Caloy, it’s all about focus,” she said.

Yulo expects stiff challenges from Nikita Nagornyy of Russia and Artem Dolgopyat of Israel. Nagornyy was the all-around gold medalist in the 2019 worlds and Dolgopyat the floor exercise winner in last year’s European Championships.

“Caloy [Yulo] beat Artem [Dolgopyat], the No. 1 from Israeli, 15.300-15.200, in the world championships in Stuttgart to win the gold,” Carrion-Norton said. “But besides the Russian and Israeli, we also have China to contend with.”

Yulo has made Chofu in Tokyo his second home for the past two years straight and has been under the watchful eyes of Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya, his coach for more than eight years now.

Interestingly, Carrion-Norton said Kugimiya speaks and understands Tagalog more than English.

“The fact that coach and athlete have bonded together for so long, it’s just wonderful that coach Munehiro is more adept with our language than English,” she said with a laugh.

Yulo has been polishing to a golden luster his signature “triple back flip,” hoping to heighten his performance’s degree of difficulty that would be enticing for the judges to give him high scores.

Carrion-Norton said Yulo will skip the July 23 opening ceremony because the gymnastics competitions start the day after at the Ariake Gymnastics.

Carrion-Norton said Yulo will remain in Tokyo after the Olympics to prepare for the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships set from October 18 to 24 in Kitakyushu, Japan.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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