THE Gymnastics Association of the Philippines will send 28 athletes to the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, which is scheduled from May 12 to 23 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Led by world artistic champion Carlos Edriel Yulo, the Filipino gymnasts hope to improve their third-place finish in the 2019 Manila SEA Games, where they won three golds, five silvers and four bronzes.
Malaysia took the overall title with nine golds, three silvers and four bronzes, followed by Vietnam with six golds, two silvers and seven bronzes.
Joining Yulo in the men's artistic squad are Jan Gwynn Timbang, Justine Ace De Leon, Juancho Miguel Besana, John Ivan Cruz and John Matthew Vergara.
The women's team is composed of Aleah Finnegan, Chiara Andrews, Ancilla Lucia Mari Manzano, Lucia Gabriel Gutierrez, Kursten Rogue Lopez and Christina Onofre Loberanes.
To see action in the rhythmic competition are Daniela de la Pisa, Breanna Labadan, Shieldannah Sabio, Katrina Loretizo, Andrea Mae Emperado, Divina Sembrano, AJ Melgar, Jenny Marie Eusebio and Angelika Leigh Buenavidez.
De la Pisa, who topped the hoop event in the 2019 SEA Games, and Labadan are currently in Hungary training under coach Dora Vass.
The lineup in aerobics include Charmaine Dolar, Lynette Ann Moreno, Queenie Grace Briones, Dorothy Grace Asuncion, Christopher Daniel Quevado, Carl Joshua Tangonan and Enrico Ostia.
Mentored by Japanese coach Munehiro Kugiyama, Yulo claimed the gold medal in the all-around and floor exercise events, and bagged the silver medal in the pommel horse, ring, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar events during the last SEA Games.
The 22-year-old Yulo continues to reap honors for the Philippines. Last year, he pocketed the gold medal in vault and got a silver medal in parallel bars at the 2021 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan.
In his previous stints at the World Championships, Yulo bagged the gold medal in floor exercise in Stuttgart, Germany in 2019 after getting the bronze in the same event in Doha, Qatar in 2018.
Yulo, who is based in Japan, returned to the country last March 5 to grace the inauguration of the MVP Sports Foundation Gymnastics Training Center in Intramuros, the new home of the national gymnastics team.