The Philippines captured four medals, courtesy of Carlos Edriel Yulo, on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) in the Mikhail Voronin Cup, held at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow, Russia.
Yulo bagged the gold medal in the rings event and went on to win two silvers coming from the vault and parallel bars. He tallied 82.232 points in the individual all-around to claim the bronze medal.
Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP) president, Cynthia Carrion, described the 16-year-old Yulo as a potential medal winner in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“Yulo is mentally strong,” said Carrion, who is also vice president for South East of the Asian Gymnastics Union (AGu).
“We can win medals in the Olympics,” said Carrion. “Given the proper training, our athletes can deliver”.
Before going to Moscow, Yulo has been training with the Japanese national team as part of the Olympic Solidarity Program.
Last April, Yulo displayed his world-class performance in the United States when he won five medals in the 8th Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships at the Xfinity Arena in Everett, Washington.
The two-time Palarong Pambansa champion competed in the juniors category of the Men’s Artistic Gymnastics and ruled the floor exercise and vault events. He placed second in the parallel bars and rings events and finished third in the all-around.
Last year, Yulo placed third in the juniors (14-18) vault event at the International Junior Gymnastics Competition held in Yokohama, Japan.
In an effort to improve the performance of its athletes, the GAP got the services of Japanese coach Munehiro Kugiyama in 2013. Kugiyama and national coach Van Simon Talinting are handling the training of four senior and junior athletes, who comprise the present national team.
Carrion has expressed hope that the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) would continue to support the GAP training program, which includes competing abroad.
“Our athletes need international exposure to become more competitive,” stressed Carrion. “And we need the support of the PSC to be able to achieve our goal, which is to produce world-class athletes and bring honor to the country.”
Yulo is expected to spearhead the country’s campaign in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.