Filipinos are not that renowned in artistic gymnastics globally. But two male gymnasts, one of whom was adopted by an Australian couple from a Philippine orphanage, are making waves in international competitions.
They are both vaulters: Manila-born Carlos Edriel Yulo, 17, and Australian Christopher Remkes, 21. Remkes made headlines recently for winning the gold in the vault at the ongoing XXI Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
The Advertiser, the leading newspaper in South Australia state, cited Remkes in an article titled “From Filipino orphan to global pocket rocket.” Remkes’ feat highlighted the fact that South Australian couple Mike and Dora Remkes adopted two-year-old Christopher at an unnamed orphanage in the Philippines nearly two decades ago.
“Without my parents,” Christopher told The Advertiser, “I would probably still be in the orphanage.”
That love the elder Remkes showed unto the son propelled the young Australian with Filipino lineage to the vault gold (14.799 total points). Remkes’ opening vault was 14.866 and the final vault registered a 14.733 score.
[Courtney Tulloch of the United Kingdom (14.666) won the silver amid a perfect 15 on his final vault, while his compatriot Dominick Cunningham took home the bronze (14.333)].
So where does Yulo stand in the way of “compatriot-by-birth” Remkes?
Both Filipinos have faced off in a previous edition of the Individual Apparatus World Cup series, a regular ranking tournament sanctioned by the Federation International de Gymnastique (FIG; colloquially, event is called the “FIG World Cup”).
And in running rankings by individual apparatus in men’s artistic gymnastics, Remkes and Yulo are in the world’s top three in the vault and the top seven in the floor exercises.
Remkes tied Igor Radivilov of the Ukraine for top spot in the vault with 85 ranking points apiece given points earned in the FIG World Cup. Yulo is running in third with 59 ranking points.
Meanwhile, Remkes is running fourth in the floor (42 ranking points) while Yulo is seventh (37 points).
Remkes and Yulo had faced off at the FIG World Cup in Melbourne (22-25 February 2018), in the vault and the floor exercises.
Remkes won the gold in the vault (14.616) while Yulo was tied for the bronze medal with Keisuke Asato of Japan (14.233).
Yulo just got the better of Remkes in the floor exercises, with the former placing seventh (13.100) and the latter eighth (11.200).
The Melbourne meet was the only occasion Remkes and Yulo had met. The FIG World Cup is periodically held in some cities.
When the FIG World Cup was held in Baku, Azerbiajan some three weeks after Melbourne (15-18 March), Yulo won a silver in the vault (14.183). Pavel Bulauski of Belarus won gold (14.283).
Yulo then placed 18th in the floor exercises (13.200), also in Baku.
A few days after (21-24 March) in Doha, the FIG World Cup went there and Yulo won another silver this time in the floor exercises (14.100). Dmitrii Lankin of Russia won gold (14.733).
Yulo then placed fifth in the vault with a total score of 14.349.
Remkes had performed in the 2017 editions of the FIG World Cup but only competed thus far in the Melbourne leg of the said competition, to prepare for the Commonwealth Games. Both are expected to compete in the most prestigious FIG meet, the World Championships, slated from October 25 to November 3 in Doha.
Yulo is a recipient of the FIG Scholarship provided by the FIG Foundation.
Yulo’s ongoing feats in world gymnastics competitions may already make him a legend for the country in gymnastics. The Gymnastics Association of the Philippines is hoping Yulo will land a medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo (the Olympics being the most prestigious world-level tournament for the sport, given a storied history).
*Story originally appared on The Filipino Connection