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Another uphill climb for Cebu’s Tabal

By: Mars G. Alison May 31,2019 - 09:52 AM

Joy Tabal shows her finisher’s medal in the Ottawa Marathon. | photo from Tabal’s IG account

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebuano marathon Olympian Mary Joy Tabal has a tougher task ahead of her.

This after the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) changed the standards for qualifying into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The IAAF has lowered the qualifying time for marathon women from 2:45 in Rio Olympics to 2:29:30 for Tokyo.

While there are a lot of other options for a marathoner to qualify for the Olympics, each option is also not easy.

“Daghan options pero same mi og mga goals kay lisod man ang 2:29.30 so adto mi sa Top 5 sa Gold Labels so gaabot me tanan,” said Tabal.

(There are a lot of options but we all have the same goals. Because the 2:29.30 is difficult to get, we will all aim for the top 5 in the Gold Label so we will all be converging there.)

Aside from getting the qualifying time, marathoners can also qualify by climbing up the world rankings, or finishing in the top 10 in the 2019 World Championships in Doha or in a World Marathon Major—Boston, New York City, Tokyo, Berlin, Chicago or London.

Or, marathoners can qualify by finishing in the top 5 at an IAAF Gold Label Marathon, such as the Paris, Rotterdam, or Dubai marathons.

And, this is what Tabal meant when she said that all top runners will converge at these running events in the hopes of qualifying for the Olympics next year.

However, the six-time national Milo Marathon queen is no stranger to difficulties and hard times.

“But for me, Olympics man gud so expected nga lisud gyud na. For me, nindot ni ingun ani pud kalisud ang standards kay it will motivate us to train harder and naa jud goal ba, nga maski dili nimu ma-hit, at least you are near lang or mag improve ka and naa jud ka motivation, then for me daku kaau na nga tabang,” quipped Tabal.

(But for me, it is expected to be hard because it is the Olympics. It is also nice that the standard is this difficult because it will motivate us to train harder and you will really have a goal, that although you might not be able to get it, at least you are near, or that you improved, you really have the motivation, for me that’s a big help already.)

Tabal recently placed 14th in the Ottawa Scotiabank Marathon with a time of 2:49. It was in the 2016 edition of the same race that she qualified for the Rio Olympics when she finished in the top 8 with a time of 2:43.

She then became the first Filipino woman to qualify for the marathon Olympics.

But knowing that the qualifying time has been lowered to 2:29, Tabal’s goal was to get a personal record.

Although she didn’t quite get it, the petite Cebuana said she was happy because it was a significant improvement from her 2:55 finish in the National Milo Marathon last December.

Thus, the goals remain the same for Tabal.

Aside from trying to qualify for the Olympics, her focus will also be on the upcoming 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games wherein she hopes to defend her gold medal before the home crowd as the Philippines will be hosting the biennial multi-sporting event from November 30 to December 11, 2019.

According to Tabal, she will return to Tokyo by the middle of August, this time to focus her training for the SEA Games.

Tabal said that for the SEA Games, she will need more discipline especially that she will be running in front of the home crowd. / celr

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TAGS: 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Mary Joy Tabal, Tokyo 2020

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