PHILIPPINE gymnastics has always been Carlos “Caloy” Yulo—the two-time world champion, Tokyo Olympian and Southeast Asian Games multi-gold medalist.
But lurking in the shadow of the four-foot-11 Yulo are a phalanx of other gymnasts hoping to follow his illustrious—and still to be more illustrious—career.
Charlie Manzano included.
“I think everyone in Philippine gymnastics will rise,” Manzano told BusinessMirror during the recent Philippine Sports Commission Media Relations training for athletes at the Orchid’s Hotel. “Everybody is improving and we believe we can contribute in the medal tally.”
Manzano said that like all other Filipino gymnasts, she’s proud of Yulo’s accomplishments at the young age of 22.
Manzano is just one in the women’s stable of the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines who are all potential Yulo heir apparent. The others are Aleah Finnegan, Chiara Andrew, Kursten Lopez, Lucia Gutierrez and Tina Onofre-Loberanes, members of the women’s artistic team that struck gold at the Hanoi SEA Games last year.
Too bad for Manzano and co., they won’t be in Cambodia SEA Games in May where women’s artistic gymnastics isn’t in the program.
But they’ll be fielded in a bigger battle field in the Asian Artistic Championships from June 10 to 18 in Singapore and the Hangzhou 20th Asia Games from September 23 to October 8.
“We started winning gold in the Vietnam SEA Games so our expectations are higher for the two Asian competitions,” Manzano said. “It’s a step by step process although we’re going to face more competitive gymnasts there.”
Manzano is the only national gymnasts training at the GAP facilities while all her teammates are practicing abroad.
“I’m really working hard to improve my performance in the vault and beam,” said the only daughter of Inky and Noreen Manzano.
Manzano was one of dozens female athletes who attended the PSC media relations training headed by PSC chairman Richard Bachmann and supervised by commissioner Olivia “Bong” Coo.