Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

Filipino ace Carlos Yulo works on his pommel horse routine on the eve of opening night. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Filipino ace Carlos Yulo works on his pommel horse routine on the eve of opening night. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

With everyone in the 41st FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championship field belonging to the upper crust of talent, Carlos Yulo knows that a slight mistake in his routine, a slip or even a bad fall, could cost him a trip to the podium.

“The competition is strong, I really cannot say what my chances are in my events,’’ said Yulo, the reigning world champion in men’s vault and silver medalist in the parallel bars, on the eve of opening his bids in several events late Monday (early Tuesday morning in Manila) at M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England.

“I have to execute my routines properly. I made a lot of mistakes [in training], but I know what to do to correct those mistakes,’’ said Yulo, who came from a training camp in Paris, France.

Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion-Norton and Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya have accompanied Yulo, trusting that the prized gymnast will make it into the finals of the apparatuses starting Thursday evening until Saturday.“Caloy is in great shape, but I’m really nervous (for him). He’s been doing well in his pretournament workouts,’’ said Carrion.

Top-notch foes

In reclaiming the floor exercise title he won in Stuttgart in Germany in 2019, Yulo will be facing Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Artem Dolgopyat of Israel and podium finishers Rayderley Zapata of Spain (silver) and China’s Xiao Ruoteng (bronze).

Animated gymnasts from host Great Britain and the United States are out to unseat Yulo in the vault while the Chinese and Turkish are his chief rivals in the parallel bars.

“It is a battle of hearts in the world championships. You have to put in 120 percent of your effort apart from a strong mindset,’’ said Yulo, who will be seeking to win the floor exercise again after finishing fifth in Kitakyushu, Japan, last year. INQ

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By Dave Jenks

Dave Jenks is an American novelist and Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Between those careers, he’s worked as a deckhand, commercial fisherman, divemaster, taxi driver, construction manager, and over the road truck driver, among many other things. He now lives on a sea island, in the South Carolina Lowcountry, with his wife and youngest daughter. They also have three grown children, five grand children, three dogs and a whole flock of parakeets. Stinnett grew up in Melbourne, Florida and has also lived in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and Cozumel, Mexico. His next dream is to one day visit and dive Cuba.