Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP) head Cynthia Carrion is pretty upbeat with regard to Caloy Yulo's chances of clinching gold in the Tokyo Olympics, even as she downplayed an injury suffered by the young gymnast in practice recently.
Carrion told ESPN5's Paolo del Rosario in a video interview that the Filipino gymnast has been doing very well in training, and has caught the attention of various international observers.
"Every time he performs, all eyes are on him and then when I was walking yesterday, I talked to the main judge, he told me, 'All he has to do is stand there and everybody will stand up and cheer for him. They could see the strength of that boy and how he tries so much. Don't worry, I think he's going to make it,'" said Carrion.
Gymnastics Association of the Philippines President Cynthia Carrion gives us an update after Caloy Yulo suffered an injury in training.— Paolo del Rosario (@paodelrosario) July 22, 2021
Carrion says Yulo is still in the fight for a gold and assures fans not to worry. 🇵🇭🤸🏻♂️ | @OneSportsPHL @onenewsph pic.twitter.com/jTN7hzKNKb
Yulo, who has been training under the strict guidance of Japanese mentor Munehiro Kugimiya, suffered a minor injury while attempting his Russian foe's routine.
"To make sure that we get the gold, without any question, we tried to make the highest skill. And then he tried to do the triple back and you make the double forward, and you have to stick on the floor," recalled Carrion.
"In one of his tries, he got too close to the floor on his double. And so, he hit the floor and kind of injured his back. The injury was not that bad. But he doesn't want to try it anymore. It could be worse. If gets injured more and he cannot do the skill, he won't be able to perform," she added.
Due to the difficulty of sticking to the routine, the team decided to scrap perfecting it, since it needs to accomplish four perfect turns before sticking the landing.
Carrion assured that the injury will not affect his upcoming performance on July 24, when men's qualification in artistic gymnastics is scheduled.
"It will not affect him at all. Only the skill he got hurt in. Only the triple back and the double. But otherwise, he's O.K., he's perfectly fine," said Carrion.
She added that Yulo's calm demeanor is a huge advantage for the 21-year-old.
"'If Caloy continues to do what he is doing, he might even be in overall, he might even win apparatus overall," recalled Carrion in a conversation with a judge.
When Carrion saw several opposing gymnasts, she relayed that she was blown away by how Yulo is miles ahead of his companions in training.
The longtime official sees the bets of Russia, China, and Israel as the biggest obstacles to the gold medal, but nevertheless Yulo is still within striking distance of beating them all.