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  • Apart from becoming a world champion, Caloy Yulo has also qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
    PHOTO BY @c_edrielzxs/Instagram and Janneth Tenorio

    Carlos “Caloy” Yulo’s journey to the 49th World Artistic Championships started at Paraiso ng Batang Maynila, a public park near Manila Zoo, where he and his siblings liked to play with their friends.

    “Mayroong isang batang atleta ng gymnastics, tumbling siya ng tumbling sa playground, ‘yung mga apo ko naman, ginaya siya,” recalls Rodrigo Frisco, Caloy’s grandfather, in an interview with 24 Oras.

    Caloy’s mom, Angelica Yulotells Manila Bulletin that Caloy joined a group of young tumblers and they found their way to Rizal Memorial where they saw gymnasts from the national team training. A coach allowed Caloy and his friends to show off their skills and perhaps saw Caloy’s potential. 

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    According to Rodrigo, he brought the then-7-year-old-Caloy to the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP) and out of the small group of young tumblers, Caloy was the only one who went on to pursue the sport.


    GAP supported Caloy throughout his journey, and he was able to finish high school at Adamson University with their help. Throughout his school life, he was also participating in various local competitions, winning big at the Batang Pinoy and Palarong Pambansa tourneys, and gaining more than 500 medals throughout his career.

    “Grabe ang pagsisikap ng apo ka na iyan. Umulan o umaraw nagsasanay talaga siya para manalo,” Rodrigo tells CNN Philippines.

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    Carlos called his mom after the tournament and said, "Ma, naka-gold ako."
    PHOTO BY Janneth Tenorio

    When he was barely 16 years old, GAP president Cynthia Carreon suggested he fly to Japan to take his training to the next level. Though reluctant, Caloy went to Tokyo after getting the approval of his mother. There he trained with Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya at the national team’s training center. 

    “I was a shy kid then and there was the problem of communication. It was a bit hard since I was alone,” shares Caloy in an article by Spin.ph. Aside from having to adjust to the new environment, the young boy also experienced a tough time with his coach, saying, “the training was hard. Super hard.”

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    But all his hard work paid off. On October 12, 2019, Caloy became the first Filipino gymnast to win a gold medal in the world championships held in Stuttgart, Germany. He was also able to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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    Ironically, his mom and dad, who were back home in Manila were sleeping when it happened.

    “Hindi na po namin naabangan sa YouTube kasi hindi pa naming expect na mananalo si Caloy,” Angelica’s mom tells Manila Bulletin. Instead, they were awakened by a call from Singapore where the gymnastics national team was training for the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

    “Tumawag po si coach Ricardo (Ortero) para sabihin sa amin ang resulta, nagkagulo sa bahay,” Angelica shares. “Yung asawa ko nga hinahampas ‘yung TV ng tuwalya sa tuwa.”

    Angelica’s two kids, Eldrew and Elaiza, who are also training as gymnasts like their older brother, shares they were inspired by Caloy’s performance. “Sobrang linis ng galaw niya,” says Eldrew to 24 Oras

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    Caloy eventually called his family at around 1 a.m. in Germany (7 a.m. in the Philippines), saying, “Ma, naka-gold ako.” He told his mom he wanted to cry during the award ceremony, but didn’t because “nahihiya daw siya.”

    To the foreign press present at the event, Yulo said, “"I am speechless because I did not expect to win because I thought the Israeli's score was far too high. But I wanted to show everyone what I could do so I just wanted to do my best. Talagang napakasaya ko po."


    Caloy’s next competition would be at the 30th Southeast Asian Games to be held in the Philippines on November 30, 2019.

    Toddlers can benefit from gymnastics! Click here to read the advantages of enrolling your kids in a gymnastics class.


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