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Carlos Yulo skipping Asian Games

Carlos Yulo is laser-focused on earning a slot to the 2024 Paris Olympics. Photo by Jat Tenorio/GAP

The decision is final: Carlos Yulo will not compete in the 19th Asian Games this 23 September to 8 October in Hangzhou, China.

Gymnastics chief Cynthia Carrion said the 23-year-old pride of Leveriza, Manila, will be laser-focused on the World Championships, which will start on 30 September in Antwerp, Belgium.

Yulo is looking to enter the World Championships this year via competing in the Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships at the OCBC Arena in Singapore from 10 to 18 June.

Last Monday, Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino expressed the desire to see the gymnastics prodigy in the Asian Games in hopes of jacking up the country’s gold medal tally and improve from the four gold medals won in Jakarta and Palembang in 2018.

“All the members of the POC general assembly are begging for gymnastics to consider playing in the Asian Games,” said Tolentino, who said he had already included Yulo’s name in the 426-strong delegation to Hangzhou.

“We have already asked them to look for other Olympic qualifying events. Belgium is just the first Olympic qualifying event and there are many [qualifying events],” Tolentino said.

But Carrion said the Antwerp meet will be Yulo’s top priority this year.

“Definitely the World Championships. We fought for it. That is final,” Carrion said last Wednesday during the opening ceremony of the 14th Senior Rhythmic Gymnastics Asian Championships yesterday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

“The Asian Games is not an Olympic qualifier,” she emphasized.

Between the Asian Games and the World Championships, it’s a no-brainer for Yulo to choose the latter, Carreon noted.

While he may be getting a lot more gold medals in the Asiad, the World Championships is an Olympic qualifier for Paris.

Also, the top eight gymnasts in the individual all-around in the World Championships will gain an automatic slot to the biggest sporting event in the world, giving him a bigger opportunity to redeem himself after the disaster in Tokyo in 2021.

Carrion said she and Tolentino have already talked about the situation.

“He (Tolentino) knows it. I already texted him about it,” Carrion said.

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