THE Rotary Club of Manila named Tokyo Olympics-bound gymnast Carlos Yulo as the Jorge Vargas Outstanding Athlete of the Year for 2021 on Thursday.
Gymnastics Association of the Philippines President Cynthia Carrion-Norton received the award for the world champion gymnast during the ceremonies held at the Heritage Hotel in Pasay City. Yulo has been based in Saitama, Japan, for a year now, mastering the triple backflip in his floor exercise routine that could be the key to him winning the country’s first Olympic gold medal.
Joaquin Rodriguez, the club’s immediate past president and chairman of the Circle of Centennial of Rotary Clubs, told BusinessMirror Yulo garnered 44 votes in beating the other nominees—Rio 2016 weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz (29 votes), world champion boxer Johnriel Casimero (22) and golfer Yuka Saso (20).
The Rotarians, Rodriguez said, picked Yulo for “braving the challenging conditions of the pandemic and for becoming a “symbol of inspiration for Filipinos, particularly the youth, exhibiting dedication, hard work and his world class talent.”
Rodriguez said the club intends to give the 21-year-old Yulo a P200,000 cash assistance for his training every three months.
“We want to sustain our support but we’ll be happier if he wins the gold in the Olympics,” said the 80-year-old Rodriguez, a Consul to Serbia and a former De La Salle varsity basketball player during the late 1950s.
The award was named after the late Jose B. Vargas, a lawyer, diplomat and youth advocate who was a founding member of the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation, now the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC). He is the grandfather of former POC President and incumbent Philippine Basketball Association Chairman Ricky Vargas.