Tabal reinstated by Patafa, to compete in Rio Games
Cebu’s pride Mary Joy Tabal has officially become the first Filipina to qualify for the Olympic marathon after being reinstated to the Philippine National Team by the Philippine Amateur Athletic Association (Patafa), the country’s governing body for athletics.
This was announced by Motor Ace Racing-Kawasaki, the corporate backer of Tabal, in a statement sent to the media yesterday afternoon.
“We have long wanted to protect Mary Joy. We have questioned her racing schedule and its effects on her ability to sustain steady improvements over time. However, we also recognize she qualified on her own so we put our differences aside. We reinstated her and we have allowed her to follow her training program despite our concerns and we hope for the best in Rio for the nation,” said the Patafa in a statement e-mailed to Motor Ace Philippines.
This development means that the 26-year-old Tabal will be able to compete in the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this August.
Tabal made the Olympic qualifying time for marathon when she raced in the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon last May 29 (May 30, Philippine time). She clocked in with 2:43:29, beating the 2:45:00 qualifying mark.
“When I qualified, you could say that I could not fully celebrate because I wasn’t sure that I will be reinstated. But now that I am, the happiness is unexplainable,” Tabal said in the statement sent by Motor Ace Racing-Kawasaki.
Tabal, together with Motor Ace Racing-Kawasaki’s Jonel and Chipi Borromeo, met with Patafa chief Philip Ella Juico yesterday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila to discuss her reinstatement.
Tabal was asked to undergo a doping test in accordance with the rules of the International Olympic Committee, Philippine Olympic Committee, International Association of Athletics Federations and Patafa. She was supposed to wait 10 working days starting yesterday for the result of the test and expected Patafa to make a decision after that.
So it came as a surprise when Patafa made the announcement yesterday.
“I am happy and thankful to sir Juico (Philip Ella) and Patafa for allowing me to return to the national team,” Tabal told Cebu Daily News. “I’m happy that they gave me another chance to represent the country. I will do my best and I will do everything to make this country proud.”
Patafa will allow Tabal to be trained by her longtime coach John Philip Dueñas and her coaches in Japan but she will have to be accompanied in Rio by the agency’s national coach.
One of Tabal’s contributions to the national team is her silver medal finish in women’s marathon in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
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