Asian Games marathon: Pa proud of me right now, says Tabal
In three days, Cebuana Olympian marathoner Mary Joy Tabal will once again be representing the Philippines in another big race, this time in the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
And again, going into the big race, her thoughts are still about her father, Rolando Sr.
“While doing my jogging this morning, that was what I was thinking about, that he (father) will not forsake me. And, yes, I will be dedicating this race to him because I know that he is very proud of me right now,” said Tabal.
This will be the second big race that Tabal will be joining without her father, who passed away a day before she clinched her historic fifth-straight Milo Marathon national title last December.
Back then, Tabal had run the toughest race of her life, with no sleep and with tears running down her face until she crossed the finish line. Her father had earlier planned to meet her at the finish line of that race. It would have been the first time that her father could see her in a major marathon competition and make history.
The 29-year-old Tabal left for Indonesia last night.
“I can remember everything that he tells me every time before I compete, ‘Ampo lang jud, dai. Buhata unsay makaya, ampingi kanunay imung lawas, naa ra mi diri,’” Tabal recalled. (Just pray my dear. Do everything that you’re capable of, always take care of your body, we will always be here.)
Tabal admitted she feels a bit nervous about her Asian Games stint. But because she feels her father will be watching over her, she knows she will be able to do her best.
“I’m hoping I will just be safe. … this is not easy but I will do everything that I can to make myself proud, to make my papa proud, to make my family proud and make our country proud,” said Tabal.
She added that Hidilyn Diaz’s gold medal in weightlifting has motivated her even more.
But come race day, it will be her father’s memory she will be bringing with her since she says her father was aware that she had always dreamt of being able to carry the Philippines’ flag in the Asian Games.
“Though we know, it’s a bigger environment this time, but I am here to run and just run, and giving all my best is the least I can do.”
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