Great Yulo effort falls just short of medal in vault
TOKYO—If not for one missed step, Carlos Yulo would have gone home with a medal.
“It’s disappointing because I had the chance to medal if I didn’t miss that line,” said Yulo, minutes after finishing on the outside fringes of the podium on Monday in the vault final of the gymnastics event in the Tokyo Olympics here.
Failing to stick a landing yet again, Yulo’s right foot stepped off the side of the mat, spoiling what was one of the highest execution scores at Ariake Gymnastics Center.
Yulo finished with a 14.716, which was actually tied for the third best score of the event.
Korea’s Shin Jeahwan took the gold after winning a tiebreak against Russian Denis Abliazin. Shin and Abliazin posted matching average scores of 14.783. Shin took the gold by virtue of having the highest score of the two vaults before the average for the final score.
Armenia’s Artur Davtyan took the bronze after a 14.733.
“I was really close, but I missed,” Yulo said. “I want to get better. I feel like I still have a lot to show.”
Meanwhile, Kristina Knott missed the semifinals of the women’s 200-meter run at Olympic Stadium, finishing fifth in her heat in 23.80 seconds.
American Jenna Prandini topped that heat in 22.56.
The finish was way below expectations Knott’s team had, but coach Roshaan Griffin was willing to give his ward a pass.
“This is her first Olympic Games. She could have been battling a lot of things. It could have been the extreme heat. It could have been nerves. I’m not trying to pinpoint an excuse, or give a set of answers. It was an awful performance. It wasn’t what we expected. But people need to realize this is the world stage,” said Griffin.
Of bigger concern now is Knott’s condition. The Southeast Asian Games gold medalist threw up when she reached the finish line.
“She suffered from heat exhaustion,” said athletics official Edward Kho. “She stayed at the medical station after the race for about about an hour where she was rehydrated. She felt ill even before the gun start. After crossing the finish line, she was vomiting and was dazed. Thanks for the prayers of support. She is resting in her room now.”
It was a much stronger performance this time by Yulo, despite performing in the vault final for the first time in his career. Yulo’s strength is in the floor exercise, where he was supposed to contend for the gold here until a wobbly landing early in the routine doomed his chances.
His error in the vault was not as grievous, but it still impacted his eventual finish.
“It feels bad because I really had a good second vault,” Yulo said.
Yulo whipped out a Dragulescu for his second vault, a handspring double front with a half turn.
He earned 9.266 in execution for that move, the highest among all second vaults. It also matched the highest execution score in the final. Turkey’s Adem Asil earned the same score from the judges in the first round.
Yulo said he enjoyed his first stint in the Olympics—the highs and the lows—and hopes to build on takeaways from his performances here.
“I need a lot more experience and training,” Yulo said. “I want to reach my dream of being better.”
Meanwhile, it will be a busy day for Team Philippines as it hunts down more medals to add to the gold it has already earned here.
Nesthy Petecio will fight for the gold against Japanese Sena Irie in the women’s boxing featherweight final at Kokugikan Arena at around noon (Manila time).
Carlo Paalam, on the other hand, will be a big underdog in the men’s boxing flyweight quarterfinals when he challenges Olympic and world champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan for a semifinal berth—and a sure bronze.
Also shooting for a gold—but needing to beat a whole lot more world-class opponent to get it—is EJ Obiena, who will face world record holders and reigning Olympic champions in the pole vault final at Olympic Stadium. INQ
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