Tabal a ‘Modern Day Hero’
The Cebu City government feted Mary Joy Tabal yesterday during the National Heroes Day celebration held at the Plaza Sugbo.
The 28-year-old Tabal, the first Filipina to compete in the women’s Olympic marathon and a gold medalist in the 29th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was awarded the ‘Modern Day Hero’ plaque by the city for her achievements in local and international races.
In his speech during the event, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said Tabal is the kind of role model the Cebuano youth should look up to.
“(Tabal is) an inspiration to all of us because she’s teaching us how to be a winner,” the mayor said in his speech.
Tabal, who hails from Barangay Guba, Cebu City, said she was honored and humbled by the city’s recognition of her latest achievement. She also said she is motivated by the recognition given to her by the city and will work harder to be better.
“Let’s continue dreaming, let’s continue believing and let’s make Cebu a place where champions are made,” Tabal said in her speech.
Tabal won the gold medal after clocking 2 hours, 48 minutes and 26 seconds.
Other city officials present during yesterday’s ceremony were North District Representative Raul del Mar, and City Councilors Eugenio Gabuya Jr., Gerry Guardo, Margot Osmeña and Sisinio “Bebs” Andales.
Joining Tabal were her father Rolando and her trainer John Philip Dueñas.
Aside from a plaque, the city government will also shell out P500,000 to be used for Tabal’s training for the Asian Games next year in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I will start training next week, but it’s more on transition activities and active rest. My regular training will be on the third week of September,” said
Tabal, who will fly back to Tuscany, Italy, in October to resume her training. /With a report from reporter Jose Santino S. Bunachita
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