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Maximum haul of two gold medals for gymnast Yulo in Cambodia SEAG

WORLD champion gymnast Carlos Yulo and Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion. — GYMNASTICS ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES

WORLD champion gymnast Carlos “Caloy” Yulo is a favorite to sweep all seven events in the Phnom Penh Southeast Asian Games (SEAG)  slated May 5 to 17.

But no thanks to a bizarre rule host Cambodia has imposed, the pocket-sized dynamo from Leveriza, Manila could only take home a maximum of two gold medals.

“In gymnastics, they said that even if Caloy win seven gold, he can only receive two,” Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion yesterday told The STAR.

The decision would prevent Mr. Yulo from surpassing, if not duplicating, his five-gold and two-silver harvest in last year’s Hanoi Games where he emerged the most bemedalled Filipino athlete.

And that is apart from an earlier decision by the organizers to remove women’s artistic gymnastics (WAG) where the country snared two mints in last year’s Hanoi Games as well as rhythmic gymnastics (RG) from the calendar.

“And there’s no WAG nor RG, where can we win medals? What kind of games they are playing,” she said.

Ms. Carrion, however, stressed Mr. Yulo will still participate for the love of the sport.

“It will look bad if we don’t. We’re doing it out of sportsmanship and for the sport that we love,” she said.

The host hasn’t done it in gymnastics alone.

In fact, it removed bodybuilding completely, merged muay thai with Kun Khmer, a Cambodia martial art, and restricted participation by visiting countries in other martial arts and disciplines.

They’re just doing every trick in the book to win.

POSADAS SETS SIGHT ON PRODUCING WORLD-CLASS ATHLETESFresh from his recent promotion as head coach of the national track and field team, George “Jojo” Posadas has set his sights at not just preparing the Nationals for a busy year but also producing Asian and world-class athletes.

Mr. Posadas, 60, took over from Dario de Rosas and Sean Guevarra after serving as part of the national coaching staff for more than three decades.

Now it will be up him to help chart the team’s course as they plunge into action in several competitions including the Phnom Penh Southeast Asian Games set May 5 to 17 and the Hangzhou Asian Games slated Sept. 23 to Oct. 8.

Mr. Posadas said they are awaiting word from the PSC when can majority of the national team members be given dormitories four months before the start of the biennial event in the Cambodian capital.

He said except for the long-distance runners who are in PSC facilities in Baguio, the rest of the squad is training on their own.

He, however, assured they remain focused on eclipsing, if not replicating, its five-gold, seven-silver and 14-bronze haul in last year’s Hanoi Games.

“Ang goal ko ay mag-produce ng home-grown, Asian caliber going to world caliber talents,” said Mr. Posadas.

(“My goal is to produce home-grown, Asian caliber to world caliber talents”, said Mr. Posadas) — Joey Villar

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