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Karl Eldrew Yulo’s Spectacular Performance at Batang Pinoy Gymnastics

There was really never any doubt that Karl Eldrew Yulo would be a dominating figure looming over the rest of the field in the ongoing 2023 Philippine Sports Commission Batang Pinoy Games. If there were any skeptics at all, the 15-year-old brother of gymnastics world champion Carlos won them over on Wednesday. Yulo swept all seven individual gold medals in men’s artistic gymnastics at Gymnastics Association of the Philippines in Intramuros, Manila, showcasing the skills that prove he is more than just an athlete riding on the name of his much more illustrious kin. “I’ve been doing these routines every day, so I really feel comfortable every time I compete,’’ said Yulo in Filipino after a peerless conquest in the vault, still rings, floor exercise, high bar, parallel bars, pommel horse and the individual all-around. Yulo had pulled off similar feats in the Palarong Pambansa and the previous edition of the Batang Pinoy.

He’s a wise-money bet even on the international level, having captured four golds, one silver and a bronze from the recent 2023 JRC Stars Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Bangkok, Thailand. Yulo likewise got a silver in the men’s junior vault during the Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Singapore last September where his older brother two-time world champion Carlos won three golds, a silver and one bronze. The only top podium he missed was the team event where technical officials haven’t decided yet if Yulo’s Manila squad should be rewarded with a gold. “This is a good year for me and I’m happy with the way I performed here. For now, I’ll just enjoy the Christmas season with family and friends before I go back to training right after the holidays,’’ said Yulo. With the Batang Pinoy now his own playground, Yulo could stretch his supremacy from the national youth games for 17-year-old and younger athletes to the senior level in the PNG beginning on Thursday.

Next big thing

The younger Yulo is the next big thing in Philippine gymnastics after Carlos, who propelled himself to popularity after winning the floor exercise in the 2019 world championships in Stuttgart, Germany, and the vault in the 2021 worlds held in Japan. “I think he’s much better than his brother,’’ said Rodrigo Frisco, Eldrew’s grandfather who is credited for encouraging Carlos to pick up the sport. Over at Rizal Memorial Sports Complex swimming pool, Arvin Naeem Taguinota II continued to create splashes with his fourth gold in the weeklong sports fest. Taguinota led the Pasig relay team to victory in the boys’ 12-under 200-m medley relay, increasing his golden hike following earlier gold medals in the 200-m individual medley, 50-m and 100-m backstroke.

In Tagaytay City, sisters Leila Anika and Jeanne Soleil Cervantes likewise secured gold medals for Parañaque City in the BMX girls 13-under and 14-15 division.