Teen star Yulo 'distracted' at home SEA Games: gymnastics chief

Clark (Philippines) (AFP) –


The Philippines gymnastic chief believes the country's teenage world champion was "distracted" at this year's home Southeast Asian Games and could have improved on his haul of two golds and five silvers, local media reported Saturday.

Carlos Yulo, 19, won the all-round and floor exercise events but came second in the pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, and horizontal bar in front of a raucous crowd at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.

"There are so many things happening," Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion told Rappler. "When he's abroad, he is more focused."

Yulo is one of the nation's biggest stars and has had celebrity-status since becoming the first-ever Filipino to win a world championship gold -- in the floor exercise -- in October in Stuttgart, Germany.

Many had tipped Yulo to win a clean sweep of the seven golds on offer at the SEA Games, including Carrion.

"I'm not happy because he should be winning golds," she said. "He's very distracted."

Yulo on Saturday tweeted that he was heading "back to Japan" where he trains under a scholarship programme.

"See you all again soon," he wrote. "Thank you so much Philippines."

He also retweeted a selfie posted by gold medallist weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz -- another athlete hailed by Filipinos as a national hero.