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Time is running out on Mary Joy Tabal

By: Mars G. Alison February 18,2020 - 04:24 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Mary Joy Tabal’s chances of qualifying for this July’s 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan is running out.

This is because two of the international races she was planning to join in order to earn points to rack up her world rankings and qualify for the Olympics were cancelled.

The Hong Kong Standard Chartered which was supposed to happen last February 9 was cancelled by the organizers due to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

Also, Tabal, the country’s first female long-distance runner in the Olympics, will no longer be joining the Tokyo Marathon, which is one of the six major world marathons slated for March 1, because Asics, one of her major sponsors, is cancelling their participation due to the increasing number of people in Japan infected with the COVID-19.

Although organizers of the Tokyo Marathon has not cancelled the race entirely, Asics has decided not to send their athletes to the event.

“We believe that the health of our athletes and guests are much important and will not take the risk of sending everyone at this moment since there is a rising number of affected NCOV in the region,” stated a missive that Tabal received from Asics.

“There are only a few good races or accredited races here in Asia that will fall on the 1st and 2nd quarter of the year. The next problem is to look for races outside Asia but aside from asking them to let you have a free entry, you will need to process a visa before you can book tickets,” said Tabal.

The Hong Kong run is a Gold label race while the Tokyo Marathon is one of the six major world marathons, and both would have given her points to pad her Olympic chances before she competes again in Canada.

“Yes, to earn points from these accredited races to increase my world ranking because the 2:29.30 qualifying time is suicidal,” said Tabal.

Aside from getting the qualifying time set for the Tokyo Olympics, other ways to qualify is to finish in the top 10 in world major marathons or top 5 among Gold Label marathons. The third option is through the world rankings, wherein a runner has to run more accredited marathons or half marathons where they can earn points and climb up the world rankings.

Tabal currently holds the Philippine record for both full and half marathons as released by the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA).

For the full marathon, she holds the time of two hours, 43 minutes and 31 seconds (2:43:31) which she clocked in the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon back in 2016 which qualified her for her first Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

For the half marathon, she has the time of 1:16:28 which she set in the 2017 edition of the Scotia Bank Ottawa Half Marathon in Canada.

Known for her resiliency, Tabal is not about to give up on her Tokyo Olympics 2020 dream.

“I am doing all the best to look for these accredited races and have to send emails on my own, waiting for them to accept me last minute,” said Tabal. She added that “I will take any opportunity coming, thus my training continues.”

Should she not make it to the Tokyo Olympics 2020, Tabal will be looking forward to the Berlin Marathon 2020 happening in September, a month after the Games.

This will be a step to Tabal’s other dream which is completing the six biggest marathons in the world—Boston, London, Tokyo, Berlin, New York and Chicago. She has already done Boston in 2016, Tokyo and Berlin would have been the next this year. /rcg


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TAGS: COVID-19, Mary Joy Tabal

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