PHNOM PENH—Carlos Yulo topped the parallel bars for his second gold medal in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games on Tuesday.
But Cambodia would be remembered not only for the two-time world champion Yulo, but for a cousin of his and another one who’s passionately following the Tokyo Olympian’s track.
John Ivan Cruz snatched the gold medal in floor exercise and Miguel Besana reigned supreme in vault on a day when Yulo had to settle for silver in the rings.
Ironically, it was Yulo who drew motivation from his teammates after missing the rings gold.
“When Ivan [Cruz] and Miguel [Besana] won gold medals, I really tried hard to win a gold so we can take home three,” said Yulo, who topped the bars with a score of 14.850, ahead of Vietnamese Phuong Thanh Dinh (14.400) and Malaysian Ng Chun Chen (13.100).
He became the first Filipino athlete to win two titles in the Games and also with the most medals counting his silver—he scored 14.000 to lose his rings crown to Van Khanh (14.200) of Vietnam.
Yulo’s second cousin Cruz topped the floor exercise with 13.850 points while Besana dominated the vault with 14.425 points.
The national artistic gymnastics team ended its campaign with four gold and two silver medals, the other silver coming from the men’s team event last Monday.
“It was a challenging second day for me,” said Yulo, who won the individual all-around gold Monday.
Yulo, Cruz and Besana pulled off the three-gold swing before Philippine Olympic Committee President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Dicky Bachmann.
Vietnam’s Phuong Thanh Dinh bagged silver in the bars with 14.400 points, while Malaysia’s Chun Chen Ng got bronze with 13.100.
Thailand’s Tikumporn Surintornta, on the other hand, landed the floor exercise silver with 13.800 points with Indonesia’s Joseph Hatogan claiming bronze with 13.500.
“Every sacrifice I did in the Philippines and all the hardship finally paid off,” Cruz, 21, said. “This medal will tremendously help my family.”
Besana also beat a Thai, Tikumporn Surintornta, who managed 14.150 for the silver Hai Khang Trinh of Vietnam was third a with 14.050 points.
The gymnasts’ domination of three events highlighted a five gold medal haul for Team Philippines—whose participation is supported by the POC and PSC—which also saw long jumper Janry Ubas finally becoming a SEA Games champion by ruling his pet event with a jump of 7.85 meters, and swimmer Teia Salvino breaking the games and Philippine records in the 100m backstroke.
With the five-gold haul, the Filipino contingent raised the country’s harvest to 24 golds on top of 35 silver and 38 bronze medals, good for fourth overall as of 8 p.m. Tuesday.
First-time host Cambodia continued to show the way in the medal tally with a 37-36-35 harvest, with last year’s overall champion, Vietnam, hot on its heels with a harvest of 34-31-44. Thailand was running third with a 33-26-39 haul.
Irish Magno and Riza Pasuit, meanwhile, won convincingly to advance to the boxing finals at the Chroy Changvar Center Hall G.
Magno, the 31-year-old Tokyo Olympian, is in the women’s flyweight final after beating Indonesian Novita Sinadia, 5-0. She will face Thailand’s Jutamas Jitpong in the finals on Saturday.
Pasuit, 30, defeated Singaporean Nur Sabrina Binte Mohd Faizal, 3-2 in women’s lightweight and will take on Vietnamese Thi Linh Ha in the finals. With Josef Ramos
Image credits: Roy Domingo