GYMNAST Carlos Yulo knew before he left for the 51st World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool, England that he would give it all to excel in four events — floor exercise, vault, parallel bars and the individual all-around.
He was on target yesterday.
The pocket-sized wonder from Leveriza, Manila advanced to the finals of the three individual disciplines he originally set out to be competitive in, boosting his all-around chances in the process.
“It’s a really good result but it’s just the qualifying. I’m not being boastful, it’s not the final yet so if I can do it in the final maybe I will say I’m satisfied,” said Mr. Yulo.
The quintuple Southeast Asian Games gold winner was electric in the floor exercise, his favorite event, where he blew away the competition in the qualifying round with a score of 15.266 — the only score that breached the 15-point mark.
Mr. Yulo was second in the vault (14.849), fourth in the parallel bars (15.300) and a surprising third in the individual all-around finals (84.644), where he put himself in position to medal.
He had an awkward start after an 11.666 in the pommel horse, his Achilles’ heel, which landed him in 102nd place. He posted a score of 13.533 (31st) in the high bar and 14.066 (10th) in the still rings, good enough to propel him to the first group of the individual all-around for the first time.
Only the Japanese duo of Watary Tanigawa (84.731) and Tokyo Olympics champion Daisuke Hashimoto (84.665) were better.
He hopes to pull off the shocker of shockers and pull the rug from under the two titans of the sport.
“Of course, I would like to beat them. This is the first time I’m going to be in the first group and it is a big, big achievement for me,” he said.
In the floor exercise, Mr. Yulo executed his routine — 2.5 twist to front double pike, double layout, double full out, front layout to Randi, triple full side pass, 1.5 to front double full, and a 3.5 twist — to near perfection.
Mr. Yulo is thus poised to replicate his golden effort in Stuttgart, Germany in 2019 and bury the ghost of a catastrophic fifth-place finish in Kitakyushu last year.
“I’m going to try to beat what I did today (yesterday), to be more aggressive,” said Mr. Yulo, who had a vault gold and a parallel bars silver in Kitakyushu. — Joey Villar