Japanese gymnastics mentor here for clinic

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Two-time olympian Yukio Iketani of Japan, who won a silver and three bronze medals during the 1988 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona editions of the Olympics, is in town for a two-day training camp for 50 Filipino coaches which began yesterday at Rizal Memorial Sports Center.

One of the prime movers in Japan’s bid the past four Olympics, Iketani was responsible for helping Kohei Uchimura win a gold medal (all-around) and a silver (floor exercise) in the men’s individual gymnastics in the 2012 London Olympics.

“For the Philippines to [win an Olympic gold], coaches and gymnasts should get more information and absorb skills from top countries in gymnastics,” said Iketani.

Brydon Sy (men’s parallel bars) got a bronze in the 2007 Southeast Asian Games held in Thailand, the last medal of the Philippines in the biennial games.

“We will share the knowledge and information that we have and this (training camp) is a good opportunity for the Philippines. It will take time (to win medals) but it can be done,” said Iketani, who is joined here by Japanese Olympic Committee coaching director Takashi Kobayashi and three other gymnastics experts.

“Our coaches don’t only teach technique, but attitude as well,” said Kobayashi.

The GAP will also send an artistic coach and two gymnasts from the junior national pool to train in Japan for a year.

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