Peace of mind, that’s what Cebuana Olympian Mary Joy Tabal has now after it was confirmed that she will indeed be competing in this August’s Southeast Asian Games (Seag) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Earlier this week, Tabal learned of her Seag stint through PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez during the PSA Sports Awards in Metro Manila. Raamirez relayed to her the good news which was included in the speech of Patafa President Philip Juico during the awarding.
PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez also confirmed the news to Tabal after the former personally talked with Juico.
The 27-year old Tabal of Barangay Guba, Cebu City has been waiting for this good news since last year following Patafa’s decision to oust her from the national team after she competed in the Rio Olympics women’s marathon, the first Filipina to do so.
With her Seag stint already a go, Tabal said she can now fully focus on her training for the biennal sports spectacle.
Tabal though is a bit disappointed because she is still not part of the national team. In the current arrangement, she is only good for the Sea Games.
“But what’s important to me is that I am able to represent the country again.”
In the 2015 Seag in Singapore, Tabal won silver in the women’s 42k marathon, a spot she intends to improve this August.
“I only have one goal in my mind and that is to win the gold medal,” Tabal added.
This Sunday, the four-time National Milo Marathon Finals champion will defend her title in the SM2SM Run 7’s 21k half marathon race that will start and finish at the SM City Cebu. She will be defending her title for the fifth straight year in the cash-rich footrace organized by SM Prime Holdings Inc.
“The race on Sunday will serve as an assessment of how far my recovery is doing. This will be my first race of the year and I’m not expecting a lot. I will just listen to my body and see how far it goes,” added Tabal.
Tabal and her trainer, John Philip Dueñas are also currently compiling the needed documents to get their visas for Italy where they will train until March 11.
“Right now we are processing the needed documents and hopefully our visas will be approved before February 25 because the training camp there is scheduled to start on that date until March 11,” Dueñas said.
The Tuscany training was reportedly recommended by Tabal’s Japanese trainer Akio Usami.
Initially the two were made to chose between Tuscany and Kenya but chose the former due to Usami’s recommendation.
Their corporate backer, Motorace Philippines under Motorace Kawasaki Racing Team will shoulder their training expenses in Tuscany, Italy. Last year, Motorace also sponsored Tabal’s races and training abroad including the Olympic qualifying race in Ottawa, Canada and her month long training in Japan.