By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA — Gold medalist Carlos Yulo on Thursday received a commendation from the Japanese Embassy in Manila for his historic win at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
In handing out the certificate, Ambassador Koji Haneda recognized Yulo’s “outstanding contributions to enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and the Philippines”.
Yulo, who was part of the gymnastics team of the National Capital Region, continued his intensive training under coach Munehiro Kugimiya. He joined Kugimiya in Japan when the latter’s coaching duties as part of the Japan Gymnastics Association in the country ended around three years ago.
Sharing short snippets from his journey to the world championships, Yulo said training under Kugimiya made a huge contribution to his 2019 win. “Sobrang laki ng tulong na binigay ni coach. Wala ako kung wala sila (Coach helped me a lot. If not for them, I won’t be here),” he said.
During practices, the Filipino athlete said he kept a positive mind as he reminds himself of his goals.
“I kept the Olympics in my mind. (I asked myself) how do I get there? Is it possible to get there?”
Yulo was accompanied by Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion and Kugimiya during his courtesy call to Haneda who was elated to meet the 19-year-old world champ.
“We are very happy to see Mr. Yulo won this gold medal, this is another win between our two countries and the Japanese coach contributing to the Filipino athlete to get the first gold medal in the world championship, so we are very glad,” Haneda said.
Carrion highlighted Yulo’s hardships before his outstanding gold-medal finish in Germany.
“In the beginning, gymnastics is gymnastics, I couldn’t get any help from anybody and sponsorship to bring him to Japan, it’s very expensive– he has to study, has to train, I wanted him to go to the best training school in Japan,” she said.
“It was not easy, luckily, MVP, Manny Pangilinan helped me out and that’s how it started and now we have a lot of people who wanted to help him,” she said. (PNA)