THE Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) wants Carlos Yulo and the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP) to prioritize the Hangzhou 19th Asian Games rather than the world championships in Belgium.
POC President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said the Hangzhou Games gives Yulo more opportunities for gold medals in artistic gymnastics because most of his top Asian rivals will be in the world championships.
“It’s going to be win-win for Team Philippines in the Asian Games because all the gymnastics powerhouse countries will be competing in the world championships,” said Tolentino during last week’s POC general assembly in a restaurant in Parañaque City. “So Yulo has a strong opportunity of sweeping all the events in Hangzhou.”
The two competitions clash in schedule—the Asian Games which are not a qualifier for Paris 2024 are from September 23 to October 8 while the Antwerp world championships are set September 30 to October 8.
GAP president Cynthia Carrion Norton announced early this year that Yulo, a former world champion in floor exercise and vault, will be in Antwerp to chase a slot for his return to the Olympics in Paris.
Carrion Norton was in the same general assembly and said the GAP will evaluate the suggestion of Tolentino, which was supported by the entire POC members.
Tolentino also said that Yulo will also reap a bounty in terms of financial incentives if he wins gold or a medal of less color in Hangzhou. The government’s incentive program gifts P2 million for gold, P1 million for silver and P.4 million for bronze in the Asian Games.
Yulo was already included in the “entry by name” list consisting of 426 athletes that the POC sent to the Hangzhou organizers. He has also earned a berth to Antwerp by virtue of his strong performance in previous International Gymnastics Federation world cup competitions.
“All the members of the POC general assembly are begging for gymnastics to consider playing in the Asian Games,” Tolentino said. “We have already asked them to look for other Olympic qualifying events. Belgium is just the first Olympic qualifying and there are many [qualifying events].”
“I believe he can get all the medals especially gold in the Asian Games. At the same time, the incentives he can get there are higher,” Tolentino said. “And based on research, there are more other Olympic qualifiers by next year which is not that difficult so all POC members are begging for gymnastics to let Caloy play.”
The other Olympic qualification tournaments are the 2024 Apparatus World Cup series from January to March and the 2024 continental championships in April and May.
The Philippine is hoping to land more gold medals in Hangzhou to beat the four won in Jakarta and Palembang in 2018. A guaranteed gold in the Asian Games is expected of Asian men’s pole vault record holder Ernest John “EJ” Obiena.
Yulo competed in the Cambodia Southeast Asian Games early this month and won golds in men’s all-around and parallel bars and silvers in rings and team event.