HANOI, May 16, 2022 – Carlos Yulo completed a five-gold romp while dancesport scored four rousing victories Monday as the Philippines came up with its best performance yet in the 31st Southeast Asian Games here, going on a 10-gold medal rush to stay on the coattails of Thailand in their heated battle for second overall.
Yulo, 22, triumphed in the apparatus where he is the reigning world champion, dominating the vault finals and adding a surprise gold in the horizontal bars as he ended his stint here with a shot at becoming the best male athlete.
After wowing the crowd at the Quan Ngua Sports Palace with a runaway victory in the vault where he scored 14.700 points, Yulo returned hours later and tied for first in the horizontal bars with Ding Phuong Thanh of Vietnam, both scoring 13.867 points.
The horizontal-bars gold was the fifth gold medal by Yulo, counting his earlier victories in the men’s all-around, floor exercise, and rings, on top of silver medal finishes in the men’s team event and parallel bars.
He matched the five-gold haul recorded by a forgotten sports hero, Rolando Albuera, who achieved the feat in the Jakarta 1979 SEA Games where the Philippines collected a total of 24 gold medals and finished fourth overall.
Overall, artistic gymnastics contributed seven gold medals, four silvers and one bronze to the Philippine drive here, the best finish by Pinoy gymnasts in memory.
The other two gold medals were contributed by Fil-Am Aleah Finnegan in the women’s team and vault while adding a silver medal in the balance beam, losing to Malaysia’s Rachel Yeoh Li Wen (12.567-12.467).
Aside from Yulo’s last day golden double, also contributing to the country’s cause was the dancesport pair of Jean Mischa Aranar and Ana Nualla, who completed a golden treble in tango, Viennese waltz, and all final dance standards at the Long Bien Gymnasium.
Mark Jayson Gayon and Mary Joy Renigen contributed the fourth gold for the day, ruling the slow foxtrot, raising dancesport’s contribution to five, counting another gold last Sunday.
Bowler Merwin Tan ruled the men’s singles and ended an 11-year golden drought by the keglers; 110-meter hurdler Clinton Kingston Bautista kept his crown as the athletics team raised its haul to three golds; while Jocel Lyn Ninoble triumphed in women’s poomsae of taekwondo.
Swimmer Chloe Isleta also joined the gold medal parade, ruling the women’s 200-m backstroke.
Vietnam all but wrapped up the overall title won by the Philippines in 2019 but Pinoy athletes, whose stint here is backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, stayed in contention for second overall with a total harvest of 30-34-43 to Thailand’s 34-35-50. The host team zoomed away from the field with an 83-50-55 harvest.
“If it’s up to me I wanted to win all the medals in all the events,” said Yulo, who ended up sharing the horizontal gold with Ding as decided by the organizing committee.
“I thought I lost the gold there,” said Yulo, who was informed of the interesting decision by Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion.
“There were two golds (in that event). The difficulty of Caloy’s performance was much higher and the landing (of the Vietnamese) was not perfect. We should have scored higher,” Carrion said. (PR)