Ramirez tells Yulo: Don’t worry

The Philippine Star
Ramirez tells Yulo: Donât worry
William ‘Butch’ Ramirez
STAR / File

TOKYO – Losing happens even to the best.

This was the message of Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William Ramirez to Filipino athletes, who suffered heartbreaking setbacks during the first full day of competitions of the Summer Olympic Games last Saturday.

Taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa and Fil-American swimmer Remedy Rule were eliminated right on the first day of competition, while world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo, one of the country’s brightest hopes for a gold medal in these Games, failed to advance to the finals of his favorite event – the men’s floor exercise – but made it to the finals in the vault.

“Nagulat nga po ako (vault),” Yulo said. “Hindi ko po alam na nakapasok ako.”

Yulo has not reached the finals of the vault in any major tournament until now, but promised to make the most of the opportunity.

But to land a medal, Yulo said he may need to get to the 15 level, which he said will entail sticking both his landings in the finals.

“Malabo po. Marami pong magaling,” he said when asked about his medal chances.

Still, the PSC chief there’s no need to worry.

“Si Caloy, first-time sa Olympics. I got to talk to him before his vault competition. Sabi ko sa kanya na ‘wag siya masyadong mag-worry kasi it really happens,” said Ramirez, citing Japanese legend and two-time Olympic champion “King Kohei” Uchimura, who fell off the horizontal bar and failed to advance during the men’s gymnastics qualifying round on Saturday.

“Kahit ‘yung Japanese two-time world champion, natalo, nahulog sa bar,” Ramirez said.

The PSC chief said pressure from the Filipino public and high expectations that stemmed from the Philippines’ 97-year-old gold medal drought in the Olympics proved simply too much for the Filipino Olympians to handle.

“Medyo frustrating because we are expecting the elusive gold since 1924,” said Ramirez.

The journey to Olympic glory doesn’t happen overnight, the PSC chief says.

“Naawa ako sa bata (Yulo) dahil he was pressured. Nakita ko na umupo siya sa ibaba. I would imagine as an athlete ‘yung frustration ng bata, but Caloy should not worry because he has Paris Olympics to look forward to,” said Ramirez, who also made an example of Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, who took three Olympics (Beijing, London, Rio) before clinching a medal.

“You’re very lucky kung unang pasok mo panalo ka,” said Ramirez.

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