Masaharu Primed to Transition into Senior Competition with Spectacular Five-Star Performance
Japan’s Tanida Masaharu picked up four individual gold medals and one team title in Singapore and is eyeing a spot on Japan’s Olympic team for the 2024 Paris Games.PHOTO CREDIT: Emily Chan
SINGAPORE, 12 JUNE 2023 – Tanida Masaharu. Remember that name. For if Japan’s 18-year-old gymnastics sensation had his way, his name will be among the stars of the Paris Olympics next year.
The Fukui native ended the Asian Junior Artistic Gymnastics Championships in dominant form at the OCBC Arena today, winning three more individual medals in the rings, parallel bars and high bar to add to his golds in the team and individual all-around competition on Saturday.
His tally of five golds made him the undisputed star of the junior championships, with compatriot Nakamura Haruka finishing as the second most successful athlete with four golds.
Said Masaharu: “I wasn’t so happy with my individual performance on Saturday. But today I performed much better. This competition has given me the confidence that I can make the step up to compete at the senior level.”
At 18, this will be the last year that Masaharu will feature in the junior category. And for next year, he has already set his sights on helping Japan win the Olympic gold at the Paris Games.
The Japanese men’s team finished a close second to gymnasts representing the Russian Olympic Committee at the Tokyo Olympics. At the world championships last year, they also lost to China. They boast a strong team, including Tokyo Olympics and 2022 world championships individual all-around champion Hashimoto Daiki.
Said Masaharu: “I hope to train hard to make the Japan Olympic team. It will be difficult with many good gymnasts, but I hope I can help Japan win the gold medal at the Olympic Games.”
Lone golds for Kazakhstan, Hong Kong; the Philippines miss out
While Japan topped the Asian Junior Championships with 10 gold medals, with China a distant second with two golds, there was also reason to cheer for many other nations.Kazakhstan’s Zeinolla Idrissov won his nation’s only gold on the pommel horse while Hong Kong’s Amber Ward Wen Si was also her team’s only gold medallist, taking the junior women’s vault title.Two South-east Asian nations also made it to the podium.
Malaysia’s Marissa Zaiful Azian (vault) and the Philippines’ Karl Jahrel Eldrew Yulo (vault), younger brother of 2021 vault world champion Carlos Yulo, picked up a bronze and silver respectively.Said Karl: “I think what I did today was good and I’m super happy since this is the first time I’m competing in a championship of this scale.
“I’m happy I got a medal so at least I’m not going home empty handed.”
The silver could have easily been a gold on another day. Both Karl and eventual winner Wang Chengcheng of China were tied on 13.775 points in the vault finals. But the Chinese prevailed by virtue of a superior execution score on his vaults.
Karl’s sister Elaiza Andriel, 13, also competed in the Asian Junior Championships. Both will stay on in Singapore to cheer on elder brother Carlos when the Asian Senior Championships begin on June 15. Both siblings have hopes of emulating their brother’s footsteps.
Said 15-year-old Karl: “There are both advantages and disadvantages to having a brother who is a world champion. There is pressure as people expect you to also do well.
“But seeing what Carlos has done also gives us motivation to push ourselves.”
Added Elaiza: “I am lucky to have both brothers who can encourage me.”
Asked who is the most talented of all three Yulo siblings, Elaiza said: “For me, it is
Karl. I see him train every day and I think he has the potential to be better than Carlos.”
Results for Monday, June 12
Junior Men’s Individual Apparatus Final
|Silver||Moon Geonyoung||South Korea||13.600|
|Silver||Karl Jahrel Eldrew Yulo||Philippines||13.775|
|Silver||Park Sunwoo||South Korea||12.800|