Vault champ Juancho Miguel Besana’s Olympics dream nearing reality
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA—After soaking in the airy feeling on top of the medal platform, the once-distant Olympic fantasy for gymnast Juancho Miguel Besana has transformed into a possibility.
“It’s a dream to become an Olympian like Caloy [Yulo],” said Besana after stepping into the shoes of the two-time Filipino world champion Yulo to rule the men’s vault in artistic gymnastics in the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
And the 19-year-old Bachelor of Science in Sports Science major at University of Santo Tomas knows exactly what the path to his dream would be.
“I have to do good in the Asian championship and qualify to another tournament leading to the Olympics,” said Besana, who joined Yulo in the men’s team silver with floor exercise gold medalists Ivan Cruz, Jan Timbang, Justine de Leon and Jhon Santillan .
Singapore will host the Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships on June 10 to 18, a top-level continental meet that will serve as a springboard to the World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, on Sept. 30 to Oct. 8th.
From the Belgium worlds, Besana can create a pathway going to the 2024 Paris Olympics together with Yulo and the rest of the men’s artistic squad that gained passage through the Asian champs.
“I worked hard and did a great deal of sacrifice to win this (vault gold) medal. I added more difficulty to my jump and it improved my skill level,” said Besana, who picked up the sport when he was four years old after attending gymnastics class his mother brought him to.
Yulo catapulted himself into instant fame when he won the men’s floor exercise in the 2019 Artistic World Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
The Tokyo Olympian based in Japan claimed his second world championship title in the men’s vault in 2021 worlds in Kitakyushu, Japan, before also earning the gold medal in the event during the 2022 Hanoi SEA Games.
“Last year in Vietnam was a good experience for me along with the other overseas tournaments prior to the SEA Games,” said Besana, who got a bronze medal in the vault back in Hanoi, Vietnam.
He scored 14,425 points in the vault on Tuesday at National Stadium here after two attempts, beating Thailand’s Tikumporn Surintornta (14,150) and Vietnam’s Hai Khang Trinh (14,050).
“It’s a good starting point to reach my dream, but I know I have to put in the work and improve more,” said Besana.
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