The Philippines’ gymnastics chief believes that the country’s teenage world champion was “distracted” at this year’s home Southeast Asian Games and could have improved on his haul of two golds and five silvers, local media reported yesterday.
Carlos Yulo, 19, won the all-round and floor exercise events, but came second in the pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar in front of a raucous crowd at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.
“There are so many things happening,” Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion told Rappler. “When he’s abroad, he is more focused.”
Yulo is one of the nation’s biggest stars and has had celebrity-status since becoming the first-ever Filipino to win a world championship gold — in the floor exercise — in October in Stuttgart, Germany.
Many had tipped Yulo to win a clean sweep of the seven golds on offer at the SEA Games, including Carrion.
“I’m not happy because he should be winning golds,” she said. “He’s very distracted.”
Yulo on Saturday tweeted that he was heading “back to Japan,” where he trains under a scholarship program.
“See you all again soon,” he wrote. “Thank you so much, Philippines.”
He also retweeted a selfie posted by gold medalist weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz — another athlete hailed by Filipinos as a national hero.
Olympic champion Joseph Schooling on Friday lived up to his billing at the SEA Games, claiming two golds in the pool.
The Singaporean swimmer clinched his pet 100m butterfly — which he famously won ahead of Michael Phelps at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 — in a time of 51.84 seconds, beating compatriot Zheng Wen Quah.
Schooling, who won six gold medals at the last SEA Games in 2017, bounced back after losing his 50m title on Thursday, and solidified his standing as the region’s top swimmer by helping his nation win the 400 x 100m freestyle relay.
Just eight months away from the Tokyo Olympic Games, Schooling’s success heralds a welcome return to form after a difficult period for the 24-year-old, which included placing 24th in this year’s world championships in Gwangju, South Korea.
Teammate Cherlyn Yeoh’s win in the women’s 200m freestyle capped a golden session for Singapore at the aquatics center in New Clark City, the SEA Games’ main hub.
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