By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) wants Carlos Yulo and the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP) to prioritize the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China rather than the World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium.
POC President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said the Asiad will give Yulo more opportunities to win gold medals since most of his top Asian rivals will be in the world championships.
“It’s going to be a win-win for Team Philippines in the Asian Games because all the gymnastics powerhouse countries will be competing in the world championships,” said Tolentino during last week’s POC general assembly in a restaurant in Paranaque City. “So Yulo has a strong opportunity to sweep all the events in Hangzhou.”
GAP earlier announced that Yulo will be competing in the world championships instead of the Asiad due to conflict of schedule.
The Asiad is slated Sept. 23 to Oct. 8 while the world championships, which is one of the qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Olympics, is set Sept. 30 to Oct. 8.
While Yulo is already included in the “entry by name” list that the POC sent to Hangzhou organizers, the two-time world champion gymnast and his Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya didn’t want to leave anything to chance despite having other Olympic qualifiers scheduled after the Asiad.
“Carlos and Coach Muna (Kugimiya) do not want to miss Antwerp because if he misses Antwerp and he does not do well in the next world championships, he is a goner (in Paris Olympics). They want to play safe,” said GAP President Cynthia Carrion.
“I thought it would work as Bambol really wants Carlos to join the Asian Games, but Carlos said it’s very important to attend the Antwerp world championships,” she added.
The world championships offer one slot in individual all-around and a maximum of three quotas per NOC across all apparatus.
The remaining qualifiers stake one quota per NOC across all apparatus (2024 World Cup Series) and one quota per NOC in all-around qualification in the 2024 Continental Championships.