Yulo secures gold in vault


By Josef Ramos

CARLOS YULO triple-twisted in the air with a flourish and landed excellently on both feet with a smooth flair and unbent poise to clinch the men’s vault gold medal on Sunday in the 50th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan.

Some two hours later, Yulo was back at the General Gymnasium and with another display of upper body strength and grace, annexed the parallel bars silver for a two-medal haul that all but offset his foiled title-retention bid in the floor exercise.

Again Yulo—only 21 and two inches short of five feet but already an Olympian—was shy as ever. Thus,  Gymnastics Association of the Philippines President Cynthia Carrion-Norton did the talking for the back-to-back world champion.

“Don’t worry ‘mam, tomorrow [Sunday] I fight,” Carrion-Norton quoted Yulo on Saturday after he missed the podium of the floor exercise where he was world champion two years ago in Stuttgart, Germany, but fifth in Japan on Saturday.

The vault gold stood on the edge of Yulo’s radar for having ranked third four days ago in the qualification with a 14.808 score. But he was far better in the finals.

Yulo tallied a finals best 15.033 score for a 14.916 points average marked with a triple twist in his first attempt and a half twist after executing a perfect jump underscored by a front handspring double on the vault in his second attempt for the high score.

“We’re afraid of the Ukrainian because he was very good. But when he felt it in his second attempt, I just stood and knew that Caloy was the winner,” Carrion-Norton said.

The Ukrainian, Nazar Chepurnyi, topped the qualification with 14.833 but was marred by a bad landing in his second attempt and wound up second to last at seventh place (14.149).

Japan’s Hidenobu Yonekura settled for the silver medal with 14.866 points while Israel’s Andrey Medvedev got the bronze with 14.649.

Yulo scored 15.466 points to settle for the silver medal in the parallel bars. He was leading early in the contest but China’s Xuwei Hu saved his best for last and bagged the gold medal with 15.466. Another Chinese, Cong Shi, claimed the bronze with 15.066.

It was a weekened of redemption for Yulo, who in July was frustrated in making the podium in his Olympic debut in Tokyo.

Yulo remained in Japan after the Olympics and continued to train under long-time Japanese coach Munehiro Kujimiya.

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