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No Caloy Yulo, Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo in SEA Games as road to Paris beckons

Caloy Yulo will be skipping the SEA Games as he bids for a spot in the Paris Olympics. Jade Moya (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Two of the Philippines' best bets for Southeast Asian Games golds will not be in Phnom Penh as they seek a bigger prize this May.

Philippine Sports Commission chairman Dickie Bachmann confirmed on Tuesday that gymnast Caloy Yulo and weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo will not see action in the SEA Games as they both seek qualification for the Paris Olympics.

Yulo will gun for a spot in next year's Summer Olympics in the Olympic qualifiers, which will fall within the SEA Games scheduled from May 5-17.

"The last time I talked to Ma'am Cynthia Carrion (gymnastics president), [she said] that he will not actually be joining the Southeast Asian Games," Bachmann said in his first appearance at the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum as PSC chief at the agency's headquarters inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

On the other hand, Naranjo, the Philippines' first-ever Olympic gold medalist, will compete in the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Jinju, South Korea, which also serves as a qualifying tournament for the Olympics.

With two potentially assured golds in the SEA Games gone, Bachmann thinks the current crop of gymnasts and weightlifters as well as athletes from other sports should be the next people up in striving to win it all in the Cambodian capital.

"It's a perfect time for other athletes to actually step up and perform for the national team," Bachmann said. "That's why we have a national pool and a grassroots program so everyone is involved."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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