FILE – Filipino Carlos Yulo competes in the men’s artistic gymnastics vault at the 30th Southeast Asian Games. PHOTO INVESTIGATOR / Sherwin Vardeleon
TOKYO – The country’s brightest hope for a gold medal performance isn’t even aware of how much the bonus is attached to the feat.
“I haven’t talked to her about it yet and I don’t plan to do so,” Philippine Gymnastics Association president Cynthia Carrion said Wednesday at the Conrad hotel here. “Him” is reigning world gymnastics champion Carlos Yulo.
And there’s a very good reason Carrion doesn’t tell him about the incentives that could, according to the President of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), Representative Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, reach 50 million pesos.
“I want him to do all he can for the country, not just for the money,” Carrion said.
The law guarantees an Olympic champion 10 million incentive pesos, a pot matched by business tycoons Ramon S. Ang and Manny V. Pangilinan. Representative Mikee Romero’s pledge of 3 million pesos brought the current total to 33 million pesos for a gold medal.
There’s something else Carrion doesn’t tell Yulo: A nation that hopes Tokyo is where the Olympic gold pursuit finally ends is placing its hopes on the 21-year-old from Malate in Manila to deliver.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on him,” Carrion said.
Yulo will compete in the Olympics as the reigning world champion in floor exercises, having dominated the event in 2019 in Germany, where he beat Israeli gymnast Artem Dolgopyat for the title. Yulo, the youngest gymnast on the field in this competition, scored 15,300 against 15,200 for Dolgopyat. China’s Xiao Ruoteng finished third with 14,933.
Carrion believes Yulo will be worth more medals – and more incentives – here.
She said she expects Yulo to finish on the podium in vault and parallel bars.
In vaulting, Yulo faces defending world champion Nikita Nagornyy of Russia and compatriot Artur Dalaloyan, who finished second. Britain’s Joe Fraser, meanwhile, is the parallel bars world champion and he and Turkish finalist Ahmet Önder will go for gold in Tokyo.
Carrion said Yulo’s form and demeanor is where it should be days before he dives into the action.
“He’s so calm, confident and ready. He’s really, really strong right now. When I saw him I was really impressed, ”added Carrion, who built walls around Yulo in an effort to keep him away from distractions.
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