Family comes first

Yulo, Petecio to use world title bounties to uplift livelihood of those who’ve been with them since the start

By: June Navarro - Philippine Daily Inquirer | October 17,2019 - 11:08 AM

Filipino world champions Nesthy Petecio (left) and Carlos Yulo during a visit to sports patron Manny V. Pangilinan. | CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

World champions Caloy Yulo and Nesthy Petecio had always prayed—and worked so hard—for improved environments for their families.

Their dreams of comfortable homes will finally turn into a reality after both received their cash incentives from the government and the private sector.

“I want to buy a new house for my family,” said the 19-year-old Yulo during Tuesday night’s press conference attended by his parents, siblings and grandfather at the Century Park Hotel organized by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

Both Yulo and Petecio will individually receive P2 million—a million each from the government through the PSC and another million each from the MVP Sports Foundation.

PSC Chair William “Butch” Ramirez said the bonuses for Yulo and Petecio could reach as much as P3 million after they attend Wednesday afternoon’s courtesy call with President Duterte at Malacañang.

Ramirez said the President has a generous attitude of doubling the cash incentives of gold-winning athletes.

“I experienced how it was to live in a makeshift house exposed to the elements before I became a national boxer,” said the 27-year-old Petecio in Filipino.

“During those times, I knew that God is always beside me and life will soon be comfortable for me and my family.”

Yulo ruled the men’s floor exercise event of the recent 49th FIG World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, while Petecio defeated hometown favorite Liudmila Vorontsove in the featherweight finals of the Aiba Women’s Boxing World Championships in Ulan-Ude, Russia, on Sunday.

Petecio, who will use the money to renovate the family home in Tuban, Davao del Sur, first came to Manila more than a decade ago to try her luck with the national team.

Without any funding to shoulder her travel expenses, Petecio approached then Davao mayor Duterte, who immediately provided support for the lady boxer and helped her reach her dreams.

“Mayor Duterte was the one who helped me. He’s one of the benefactors that made me what I am today,” said Petecio, who also credited coaches Boy Velasco and Reynaldo Galido for her newfound fame.

As the world’s No. 1 competitor in the women’s featherweight division, Petecio will aim to land an Olympic spot in the Asian championships in Wuhan, China, come February and join Yulo and pole-vaulter EJ Obiena in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Obiena will receive P1.650 million from the PSC for a series of victories in the international scene recently, and for becoming the first Filipino qualifier in Tokyo.

It was a family affair for Yulo on Tuesday night in the welcome dinner likewise attended by Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, PSC commissioners Ramon Fernandez, Charles Maxey, Celia Kiram and Arnold Agustin, and Cynthia Carrion, Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president.

“There was a time when Caloy almost called it quits because of the difficulties of being an athlete. He didn’t give up because he knows that we, his family, are always behind him,” said Caloy’s mother, Angelica Yulo, in Filipino.

Yulo started picking up the sport when he was 7 years old, after watching a former Palarong Pambansa gymnast perform in a park near their home on Leveriza Street in Manila. He was with his grandfather.

Yulo’s friends, all 16 of them, tried to replicate the moves of the gymnast. And when they wanted to see more, the group went to the gymnastics training center at Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, which was just a few blocks away from their home.

There, Yulo and his group tried out for the national developmental team with Yulo eventually starting out a successful career.

“For now, I don’t know what his other plans are besides focusing on the Olympics. I just told Caloy to save and put his money in the bank,” Angelica said.

Caloy will defy mom’s order on that.

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