NOT BACKING DOWN
Patafa issue just another challenge she can overcome, says PH marathon queen Tabal
Just another obstacle to hurdle.
This was how Cebuana Mary Joy Tabal, heralded as the country’s Marathon Queen, described the situation that she’s in now.
The 26-year-old Tabal recently completed a magnificent feat after she breached the qualifying time for women’s marathon for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics when she finished the recent Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon in Canada in two hours, 43 minutes and 31 seconds. The Olympic qualifying time is 2:45:00.
Tabal, however, couldn’t earn a ticket to the Olympics just yet since she is not a member of the national team.
Tabal has to get the blessing of the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (Patafa) for her to compete in the Olympics.
It can be recalled that Tabal left the national pool a few months after winning a silver medal in the Southeast Asian Games women’s marathon event in 2015. She has since been supported by the Motor Ace Racing Philippines/Kawasaki team.
For now, Tabal is opting not to delve into the Patafa issue.
“I was advised by Motor Ace not to comment first on the issue. We will have a meeting together with Philip (Dueñas) when I return to Cebu,” said Tabal in a Facebook chat.
Dueñas is Tabal’s long-time trainer.
Should Tabal ask to be reinstated to the national pool, she will have to drop her corporate sponsor.
Tabal remains confident she can compete in the Olympics.
“For me, although there is some part in me that’s sad, I still have this feeling that I can compete in the Olympics,” she said. “Everything happens for a reason.”
Tabal said being in a tight a situation is not new to her.
She recalled her stint in the SEA Games where she only learned in the last minute that she was going to compete in the biennial games. Still, she went on to win a silver and then left the national team a few months later.
Since then, Tabal has targeted making it to the Olympics and got extensive training in Japan through the support of Motor Ace Philippines.
Tabal’s campaign initially hit a major snag when she failed to meet the Olympics qualifying time in the Boston Marathon last April.
Tabal continued to persevere and the hard work finally paid off with her successful campaign in the Canada race.
“I know this is just another challenge that the Lord has given me to test how strong I am. I know that the road to Rio is not easy. But I am hoping that I could handle this,” said Tabal.
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