CARLOS “CALOY” YULO has parted ways with Munehiro Kugiyama, his long-time Japanese coach and trainer who’s principally responsible for honing the Filipino gymnast to two world championships titles, a stint in the Tokyo Olympics and 15 gold medals in various international competitions.
“It’s a long story,” Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion-Norton told BusinessMirror via overseas call from the world championships in Antwerp, Belgium, where Yulo eyes a return to the Olympics in Paris 2024.
A long story that could be traced to the 23-year-old Yulo’s personal life—or love life which Carrion-Norton won’t confirm nor deny as she refuses any form of distraction to Yulo while in Antwerp, but a major reason which Yulo followers believe has forced the world champion back home from Tokyo.
Yulo, according to Carrion-Norton, has bolted Kugiyama’s training camp in Tokyo since July and has opted to train instead at the gymnastics center in Intramuros, Manila.
By bolting the Tokyo camp, Yulo also dropped his scholarship at the Teikyo University in Itabashi where he’s taking a degree in Literature.
Filipino Aldrin Castañeda will handle Yulo in Antwero while Carrion-Norton secures confirmation of her wards’s new foreign coach by the Philippine Sports Commission.
“Coach Mune [Kugiyama’s nickname] is not here, and he is no longer the coach of Caloy [Yulo],” Carrion-Norton reiterated in her phone call with the BusinessMirror. “We already changed Caloy’s coach—and even in the Olympics it’s no more [no longer] Mune.”
“I already have a foreign coach, but I don’t want to reveal his name as long as I don’t get the proper confirmation from the PSC,” she added.
Yulo didn’t return to Tokyo after the Asian championships last June in Singapore where he won three gold, one silver and one bronze medals.
With Kugiyama out, Japanese physiotherapist Junpei Konno is also out, according to Carrion-Norton, who replaced the Japanese with Hazel Calawod.
But the PSC denied financial assistance for Calawod for the Antwerp trip forcing Norton-Carrion to spend her own money to make sure the physiotherapist is with Yulo in the world championships.
“Junpei is also no longer with us because he’s with coach Mune. One thing I’m upset with is that the PSC didn’t approve our request to change the name of our therapist, so I am paying for Hazel’s ticket and everything,” she said.
Yulo vies in the qualification round in Antwerp this weekend hoping to advance to the final of the men’s individual all-around on October 5, floor exercise on October 7 and vault and possibly parallel bars on October 8.
He has to be in the top eight of each apparatus to be in the finals and land in the top 24 of the men’s individual all-around final to secure a ticket to Paris.
Also seeing action in Antwerp are Aleah Finnegan in the individual all-around event, balance beam, vault and floor exercise and Kylee Kvamme in the individual all-around of the women’s division.
Yulo skipped the Hangzhou Asian Games for the world championships.
Image credits: Jat Tenorio