The 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games are nearing completion, and Filipino gymnastics star Carlos Adriel Ulo has not yet finished.
With five gold and two silver medals, the 4-foot-11 fireball is racing to honor Hanoi, Vietnam, the most outstanding male athlete at the Games, a rare achievement for Filipino athletes.
Yulo won individual rounds, floor exercises, rings, vaults and horizontal bars and claimed a silver medal in parallel bars before leading Jan Guin Timbang, Juancho Miguel Besana, John Evan Cruz, Justin S. Leon and his team. John Matthew Vargara finished second in the team event.
Not long after tanker Miguel Molina won a Filipino accolade in the 2007 edition of Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand. Molina won four gold and one silver that year.
And if ever, Yulo would only become the fourth Philippine wrestler to achieve it and the second gymnast after Rolando Albuerra in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1979. The Albuquerque went home with five gold medals.
Ramon Fernandez, Team Philippine Chef de Mission, said: “We haven’t had an outstanding athlete at the SEA Games in a while, so it would be a great honor to have Kalo as the most outstanding male athlete.” Also a commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Former PSC chair Eric Buhain, another monster in the pool, won five gold medals in the 1991 edition in Manila and was the second Filipino to win the honor.
Competitors from Singapore
Yulo, 22, faced stiff competition for the prize with Singapore swimmer Kwa Zheng Wen, who won five gold, one silver and one bronze medal.
Owen preached in Hanoi with the 25-year-old former standout, sisters Koa Ting and Koa Jin, of the Berkeley Squad at the University of California.
Yulo, a scholar at the University of Taekwondo who has been training in Japan for years, is expected to be the biggest beneficiary of cash incentives from the government through the PSC under Republic Act 10699, known as the National Athlete and Coach Benefits and Incentives Act. . .
Eulo’s five gold medals and two silver cash bonuses are equivalent to about 8 1.8 million, while additional financial rewards await him at the expected courtesy call from President Duterte in Malakanang.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to access Philippine Daily Inquirer and other 70+ headlines, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to news, download by 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.