MANILA, Philippines – The world hasn’t seen the best of Carlos Edriel “Caloy” Yulo yet.
The newly crowned world gymnastics champ has set his sights on the Tokyo Olympics next year, hoping to deliver the first gold for the country in the quadrennial games.
“It’s not yet my best performance, I’m just starting,” said Yulo in Tuesday night’s press conference arranged by the Philippine Sports Commission at the Century Park Hotel.
Yulo’s Japanese coach, Munehiro Kugeyama, stressed he will be stricter in training Yulo as they aim for a 6.800 level of difficulty in Tokyo after doing a 6.500 in Stuttgart that drew a score of 15.300 for the gold.
“I will be stricter, our training will start soon,” said Kugeyama, who has taken Yulo under his wings for three years now.
The Japanese coach said Yulo has a strong shot at an Olympic gold considering that he will face practically the same lineup of gymnasts he had beaten in the Worlds, including silver-medal winner Artem Dolgopyat of Israel and former world champion Xiao Routeng of China, the bronze medalist.
Yulo admitted he has a lot of things to improve on and he would need to train harder to realize the country’s Olympic dream.
“I would need to train harder because the Olympics is just around the corner,” he said.
The Leveriza, Malate, Manila resident started showing gymnastics potential as a seven-year-old at the Paraiso ng Batang Maynila, a public recreational park just beside the Manila Zoo where he, his friends and cousins played around, performing tumbling and summersaults.
One fateful day, a national gymnast passing by saw Yulo and his group, and asked them to visit the nearby Gymnastics Association of the Philippines training area at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
After some hits and misses, they got in.
“I started at seven years old just in front of the Manila playground where we used to do tumbling because I was encouraged by my cousins and friends,” said Yulo.
“One time, a national gymnast approached us and asked us to join. In our first try, we didn’t make it because we were outsiders and we were so dirty and we were called batang yagit (poor boys). But we eventually made it and initially trained three times a week before it got us training every day.”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
(C) Joey Villar, The Philippine Star