Plain hard work got Yulo to where he is
“In life, there is no secret, just hard work.”
That is what Carlos Yulo, champion teenage gymnast and one of the country’s representatives in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, believes.
Fresh from his win in the World Artistic Gymnastics championship in Stuttgart in Germany, Yulo paid visits to Malacañang, the school where he graduated elementary from, and Manila City Hall.
The 19-year-old, 4’9” dynamo reiterated that he did not expect to snatch the gold medal in the men’s floor exercise event. But what challenged him to execute his routine was to “show the beauty of the sport.”
For the upcoming Southeast Asian Games, Yulo said he would “triple” his effort in training. He added: “I will use my experience to keep my momentum going.”
Yulo’s coach, Munehiro Kugimiya, who spent three years in the Philippines as coach of the Philippine gymnastics team, affirmed that it was Yulo’s “perseverance” that led to his recent success.
He added that in Japan, Yulo would train five hours a day, six days a week.
“He is trying his best,” Kugimiya said.
The Filipino athlete is studying at Teikyo University. He lives with his coach in Chofu City near Tokyo. While Yulo does not have a strict diet (“He can eat whatever he wants,” the coach said) Kugimiya cooks for the athlete three times a week. The menu includes a hefty serving of vegetables.
Kugimiya expects that Yulo would reach the peak of his career in 2024.
It was at Paraiso ng Batang Maynila—a small public space along Quirino Avenue—that Yulo started tumbling in an attempt to mimic a gymnast who was rehearsing a routine.
His grandfather saw his potential and brought him to Gymnastics Association of the Philippines at Rizal Memorial, which was just a few blocks away from the family home along Leveriza Street.
“We did not expect that he would reach this level,” said Yulo’s mother, Angelica. “We enrolled him in sports because our main dream was for him to graduate in a nice college without us having to spend money.”
Yulo received P1 million cash incentive from President Duterte and another P1 million from tycoon Manny Pangilinan. Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso also awarded P500,000 to the Malate resident.
The Manila City Council, through a resolution, conferred Yulo the “highest honors” for being the first Filipino world gymnastics champion.
The students of Aurora Quezon Elementary School on Thursday morning greeted their “Kuya Caloy” with cheers, while the Manila city government rolled out the red carpet for Yulo’s arrival.
“At first I was not used to be in front of the camera,” the soft-spoken champion said.
He’ll have to get used to that because of his newfound fame.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.