Tabal is left with only one race to qualify for Tokyo Olympics
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Philippines first Filipino female long-distance runner in the Olympics, Mary Joy Tabal of Cebu, is left with only one race to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
This after she was informed on Tuesday morning, Feb. 25, 2020, that her third race prospect for qualifying, the 2020 Seoul Marathon, has also cancelled its international elite division due to the huge outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in South Korea.
Tabal had hurriedly added the 2020 Seoul Marathon to her qualifying races after her first two have been cancelled also due to COVID-19.
The Hong Kong Standard Chartered which was supposed to happen last February 9 was cancelled by the organizers due to COVID-19.
Her sponsor, Asics, had also cancelled their participation to the Tokyo Marathon slated for March 1 because it didn’t want to endanger its athletes also due to the viral disease which has gripped the entire of Asia.
The Seoul Marathon was supposed to be held on March 20 but with its cancellation, Tabal is now left with the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon in May, the same race which qualified her for her first Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Tabal, though, has always been fortunate in the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon not only because it was where she qualified for her first Olympics but also because it is where she clocked the Philippine record times for the women’s full and half marathons.
She currently holds the Philippine record for both full and half marathon 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) while for the half marathon, she has the time of 1:16:28 which she clocked in the 2017 edition of the Scotia Bank Ottawa Half Marathon in Canada.
However, it will not be as easy as back in 2016 because instead of the top 10 finishers in a gold label race automatically qualifying for the Rio Olympics, for the Tokyo Olympics, it has been lowered to top 5.
Tabal also had the chance to join the Paris Marathon, however, there won’t be enough time to process for her visa as this race will be happening on April 5. /rcg
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