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Yulo soars in Liverpool

Carlos Yulo displayed a flawless performance in the qualifying rounds of the 51st FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships early Tuesday (Manila time) at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool.

But the 22-year-old Filipino dynamo is still far from satisfied.

“It’s a good result but it’s just the qualifying,” Yulo told shortly after booking his slot in the finals of four events of this prestigious annual tourney.

“I’m not boasting, but it’s not yet the finals. If I can do this kind of performance in the finals, then maybe I can be satisfied.”

Against the world’s best gymnasts, Yulo’s emerged as one of the brightest stars.

The pride of Manila hammered his best performance when he registered 84.644 points to finish third in the qualifiers of the men’s individual all-around event.

He also had a strong performance in the men’s floor exercise event with a pacesetting 15.226 points, men’s vault event with 14.849 points and men’s parallel bars with 15.300 points.

He, however, bombed out in the finals of rings, where he finished 10th, horizontal bar, where he fared 31st, and pommel horse, where he landed at 102nd.

Still, Yulo is on track to prevail in men’s all-around as he compiled 84.6664 points in all six apparatuses to finish third among 24 gymnasts.

Japanese powerhouse Wataru Tanigawa topped the all-around with 84.731 while Japanese Olympic gold medalist Daiki Hashimoto checked in second with 84.665.

“Of course, I would like to beat them. This is the first time I’m going to be in the first group and it is a big, big achievement for me,’’ Yulo, who is accompanied by Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion, head coach Munehiro Kugimiya, and therapist Jumpei Konno in his quest for world glory, said.

Yulo added that emerging as among the best performers in the three apparatuses and the all-around event wasn’t easy.

In fact, he had a hard time executing a vault routine called Ri Se Gwang, knowing that a single mistake could prompt him to lose his world title.

“Vault was really scary, that’s my first time doing the Ri Se Gwang, so that’s really big for me,’’ said Yulo, referring to the routine that was named after a North Korean gymnast who first performed it during the finals of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

He added that he doesn’t consider his setbacks in rings, horizontal bar, and pommel horses as losses, but as an opportunity to notice other areas he has to work on.

“Right now, I’m really glad but not that satisfied because there are a lot of areas that I can improve on, especially pommel horse.”

“Today, I didn’t lose to myself and I’m really grateful for that. There are still areas that aren’t perfect. Every movement still has a deduction but I’ll try my best. My goal is to show my gymnastics to the world.”

Yulo will seek to claim his third gold medal in the world stage when he competes in the men’s all-around final on Saturday (Manila time).

He will compete in the finals of floor exercise on Sunday and vault and parallel bars finals on Monday.

“He is making good progress as an all-arounder,” Kugimiya said in a social media post.

“Thank you to everyone who supports us. We will try our best in the finals.”

Yulo said unlike in the Olympics where he suffered a heartbreaking loss, he will march to the finals oozing with confidence following a strong performance in the preliminaries.

“It gave me confidence right now to compete in the finals,” he said.

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