Tabal meets with Patafa chief Juico on Rio stint
SUBIC FREEPORT—Marathoner Mary Joy Tabal is willing to go through the process of rejoining the national track and field team a year after bolting it over “a misunderstanding.”
The camp of the beleaguered Tabal tries to clear the first roadblock to her participation in the coming Rio de Janeiro Olympics when she meets Monday with Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) president Philip Ella Juico.
Jonel Borromeo, Tabal’s manager, said he already discussed with Juico the possibility of sending the 2015 Southeast Asian Games marathon silver medalist to Rio de Janeiro.
“It was a fruitful discussion, but I cannot divulge details,” said Borromeo, the president of the 26-year-old Cebuana runner’s corporate sponsor, Motorace.
“I hope and pray that we’ll be good to go.”
Tabal qualified for the quadrennial Summer Games, set Aug. 5 to 21, after surpassing the Olympic qualifying standard in the recent Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon, one of two International Association of Athletics Federation gold-label road races in Canada.
But Tabal—her 2:43.29 clocking beat the 2:45 qualifying mark—cannot represent the country in the Olympics unless she is reinstated to the national team by the Patafa.
She was scheduled to return to the country last night.
“We understand it is important for any Filipino to be part of the national team in order to get there (in the Olympics),” said Borromeo.
“There’s a process to do that, which we are going to work on with Patafa. If that’s the only way to be part of the national team, then [Tabal] has to do it.”
Tabal prepared for the Ottawa race under three topnotch running and conditioning coaches at Nippon Sport Science University in Setagaya, Japan, according to John Philip Duenas, her personal coach.
Borromeo said “Tabal and Patafa had a misunderstanding when she left the team.
“It’s water under the bridge; it’s finished,” said Borromeo. “Our goal is to move forward on a positive note, so that we can send the first Filipino marathoner to the Olympics.”