Cebu’s Joy Tabal gearing up for SEAG
Cebuana Olympian Mary Joy Tabal isn’t settling for anything less than the gold medal in the 29th Southeast Asian Games.
The biennial meet starts August 19 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with Tabal looking to do better than her silver-medal finish in the previous edition in Singapore in 2015.
“I am hopeful that I can really get the gold,” said the 28-year-old runner from Barangay Guba, Cebu City. “That’s every athlete’s goal, to win a gold medal.”
Tabal, the first Filipina marathoner to qualify for the Olympics, arrived from a two-and-a-half month training in Italy and Switzerland Wednesday evening. Although tired from the long trip, Tabal believes she is ready for the Kuala Lumpur meet.
“I can say that my training went well. My coach always tells me that I have improved a lot so I will take it from there.”
Tabal of the MotorAce Kawasaki Racing team leaves for Kuala Lumpur on August 17. She said she is conditioning her body under the supervision of her trainer John Philip Dueñas.
“I have to complete my conditioning training but I am still adjusting my body clock to get enough sleep. I still have jetlag and also I have to be in Manila on Sunday (tomorrow) to report to the Patafa (Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association) and the POC (Philippine Olympic Committee).”
Dueñas also thinks his ward is in good shape for the upcoming race.
“Joy’s condition is good. She’s in shape,” Dueñas said.
Still, Tabal isn’t taking any chances, saying she doesn’t want all her hard work and sacrifice to go down the drain come race day.
“I know anything can happen during the race so I just have to be always ready. I can feel the pressure already but I don’t want to deal with it. I am trying to overcome pressure and instead I take it as a challenge. I don’t train hard for nothing so I have to give all my best.”
Tabal’s personal best in a full marathon race is 2 hours, 47 minutes and 49 seconds, which she logged last year in Iloilo during her four-peat win in the National finals of the Milo Marathon.