Displaying a huge fighting heart, promising Filipino gymnast Carlos Yulo plunged into action in the 14th Asian Junior Artistic Gymnastics Championships at the Nimbitur Gymnasium in Bangkok, Thailand despite twisting his left ankle in practice the day before the tournament.
For a while, Yulo’s prospect of competing in his first – and last – Asian juniors seemed doubtful after suffering the accident during practice last Tuesday afternoon while doing the floor exercise, ironically his favorite event.
The boy will be turning 18 next February, making him ineligible to participate in next edition of the Asian juniors.
After overnight therapy, medication and prayers from the PH camp, the young boy, who is currently training in Japan and being groomed as a medal prospect in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, decided to risk performing.
Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya only gave the go-signal for the athlete to perform after warmup exercises at noontime, barely three hours before his ward was compete.
“Caloy (Yulo’s) nickname is a brave boy for wanting to compete despite the injury,” Kugimiya said. “We hope that he does not aggravate his injury and pray for the best.”
So as not to put too much stress on the injured ankle, he limited the gymnast’s competition to the pommel horse, parallel bars and rings, leaving off the floor exercise, vault and high bar events, which will deprive Yulo of a crack at a medal in the individual all-around event.
But the brave Pinoy bet, who captured a rings gold medal in the tough Voronin Cup in Moscow, Russia last December, will have the chance of vying in his three remaining apparatus events assuming he finishes among the top eight finishers in today’s competition.
“Until the injury, we were hoping for Caloy to do well, possibly even win an individual gold in the all-around,” Gymnastics Association of the Philippines secretary general Bettina Pou, the PH delegation head, rued. “We can now only pray for the best for him.”