Carlos Edriel Yulo zoomed ahead of his rivals in the 9th Senior Artistic Gymnastics Asian Championships by displaying the amazing form that brought the premier Filipino gymnast acclaim on the world stage.
And with two of his favorite apparatuses up on Friday, Yulo could jack up his advantage in a bid to qualify to the world championship on top of the heap, where three Chinese and three Japanese aces are closely breathing down his neck.
The 4-foot-11 fireball led the men’s all-around competition at the start of the competition, translating his 14.800 effort in the floor exercise and 14.100 in the rings to an overall performance of 41.833.
Yulo, whose five gold medals and two silvers in the recent 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Hanoi, Vietnam, cemented his identity as one of the nation’s sports heroes, tallied 12.933 in the pommel horse, an event where he wasn’t able to climb the podium in the past.
Up next for the two-time world champion and Tokyo Olympian are the horizontal bar and the vault, where he is the reigning world champion.
Yulo ruled the individual all-around, floor exercise, rings, vault and horizontal bar in the Vietnam SEA Games and placed second in the parallel bars. Yulo got another silver during the Games in the men’s team event.
Trailing Yulo in the all-around are the Chinese trio of Yin Dehang (41.800), Yang Jiaxing (41.700) and Shi Cong (41.300).
Three Japanese gymnasts—Koki Maeda (40.933), Shiga Tachibana (40.900) and Tsuyoshi Hasegawa (40.300)—are also closely lurking behind the leaders.
In the team event, the Philippines is running fifth overall with a total 111.967 points through the efforts of Yulo, Justine Ace de Leon (20th place, 17.500 points) and John Ivan Cruz (25th place, 13.367).
China is ahead in the team race with 126.000 points followed by Japan (123.533), Kazakhstan (118.233) and Iran (116.267).
If the trend of keeping his lead continues, not only Yulo will reward himself with an Asian championship crown, the Japan-based 22-year-old who grew up on the streets of Leveriza in Manila will be No. 1 qualifier to the Worlds.
Yulo is slated to compete in the coming 2022 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool, United Kingdom, on Oct. 26 to Nov. 6.
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