Tabal eager to compete again, sets sights on two big races

By: Glendale G. Rosal - CDN Digital | March 09,2021 - 02:11 PM

Mary Joy Tabal. | CDN file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines—As she completely abandons her Tokyo Olympics dream, Cebuana Marathon Queen Mary Joy Tabal is setting her sights on two equally important races this year—the Tokyo Marathon 2021 in October and the Vietnam Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in November.

Just like most Filipino athletes, Tabal’s scheduled races and training were derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the past year. Worse, it did not spare her bid to compete in the Tokyo Olympics after all of the qualifying races she could have joined for the quadrennial event were cancelled or moved to another date due to the pandemic. 

Tabal said she already accepted the fact that she wouldn’t be donning the country’s tri-colors in the Olympics anymore.

Despite the setback, the 31-year old Olympian and SEA Games gold medalist remained optimistic. She is now focused on putting up a good performance in the two huge races starting with the Tokyo Marathon slated October 17. 

”The Tokyo marathon will serve as my comeback,” said Tabal, who last competed in January 2020, when she finished fourth in the 10-kilometer Road Race of the Dubai Standard Chartered. 

“But, I am not expecting too much. I have not trained properly because of this pandemic. I just want to run and feel the love of this sport. I want to run again because I badly miss running and competing. Then I will take it from there. I just hope to have a better and stronger finish in the SEA Games,” she added.

Tabal is looking for some redemption in the November SEA Games as she settled for a silver medal in last edition in 2019 in Tarlac. Compatriot Christine Hallasgo won the gold medal in that race.

Read: Who dethroned Cebu’s Mary Joy Tabal?

For Tabal, the Tokyo Marathon will be very important for her as it will determine if she’s ready or not for the SEA Games. 

“I will focus on my training and preparation for the Tokyo Marathon this October as tune up before the 2021 SEA Games in Vietnam. I just hope that I can run on the road again with lesser risk of COVID-19. I hope I can run not wearing a face mask anymore,” Tabal added. 

Despite missing next year’s Olympics, Tabal already made history by becoming the first Filipina to compete in the Olympics’ women’s marathon in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

“I do not dwell a lot and think of my current situation because it will just disappoint me,” said Tabal. 

“For now, I focus on staying and keeping myself in shape. I trained indoors with my treadmill. I will make sure to hit the track oval if it reopens again,” added Tabal, a proud daughter of the mountain village of Guba in Cebu City.

/bmjo

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TAGS: Cebuana Olympian, Marathon Queen, Mary Joy Tabal, SEA Games, Southeast Asian Games, Tokyo Marathon, Tokyo Olympics, Vietnam

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