Tabal shares events leading to emotional moment with Patafa chief
MANY may have already seen the trending video posted by sports broadcaster Dyan Castillejo on her social media account of an emotional Mary Joy Tabal hugging Philippine Athletic Track and Field Association (Patafa) chief Philip Ella Juico just moments after winning the gold medal in women’s marathon in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Saturday morning.
It can be recalled that Tabal and Patafa had a strained relationship in the past. The country’s athletics body sacked the Cebuana runner twice in the last two years over issues regarding her coaches and sponsors.
But it seems Tabal has already put aside her rift with the Patafa as seen in that video that made rounds in social media.
The 28-year-old Tabal gladly shared to Cebu Daily News the sequence of events that led to that emotional moment.
We pick things up from when Tabal already held a huge lead over Vietnam’s Hoang Thi Thanh in the final stages of the 42-kilometer race:
“I was about to get a water bottle from a water station when I saw Sir Juico about to hand me my water bottle. I was in total shock at the same time happy because I was not expecting him to personally give me my water bottle. After I passed thru the water station, that’s when I became very emotional because I was very happy and I told myself that this might be the start of a better relationship with the Patafa and we could move on from our past.”
That gesture of Juico, according to Tabal, motivated her more. She ran faster and widened the gap between her and her competitors.
Just a few meters from the finish line, Tabal heard PSC commissioner Ramon Fernandez yell “Gamay na lang, Joy!!!” (Just a little bit more, Joy!).
“Commissioner Mon’s voice echoed at the sidelines and it gave me another second wind to sprint to the finish line. I was not aware that I was already crying so hard at the finish line. A woman who was tasked to test me for doping approached me, but I told her to give me a few minutes because I was looking for Sir Mon(Fernandez). He was the one that I hugged first. I was still crying at that time then I found the finisher’s tent where Sir Philip (Juico) was. I rushed to him and hugged him and thanked him for giving me a chance to represent the country.”
Tabal was heard in the video saying “Sobrang saya ko po. Ang laki po ng tulong nyo sa pagbigay sa akin ng chance.” (I’m really very happy. It was a huge help when you gave me a chance.)
Juico replied “Bakit ka umiiyak? Wag ka na umiyak.” (Why are you crying? Don’t cry.)
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