Patafa cuts Tabal, runner says ‘I just want to run for PH’
The Philippine Track and Field Association has excluded Rio de Janeiro Olympian Mary Joy Tabal from its athletes roster for the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur—but the country’s top marathoner still holds on to the hope that she can represent the country.
Patafa executive vice president Nicanor “Boy” Sering made the announcement Wednesday, saying that Tabal failed to cooperate with the local track and field association for her inclusion in the national team.
“She didn’t show any intention of participating in the national team. There was no effort on her part,” said Sering.
“There’s a process that we have to follow if an athlete wants to join the national team. Even if you’re clockings are good, that doesn’t make you a national player outright,” added Sering.
But Tabal said she has every intent in representing the country in the SEA Games.
“All the training outside and the breaking of the national record is part of my plan in preparation for the SEA games,” Tabal said.
“I was thinking [that] if my performance in Ottawa will be good, then we can plan to meet with Patafa to show interest to compete with the help of [the] PSC. I just wanted to make sure that I am ready and fully conditioned before my appeal to them [and] to make sure I have concrete performance evidence to show.”
PSC commissioner Mon Fernandez, who is an open supporter of Tabal, said the sports funding government body has no say on who a national sports association names to the national team.
“The PSC has no say with regards to who the NSA would put in their line up,” Fernandez wrote in a message to the Inquirer. “Patafa was named NSA of the year and [track and field chief Philip] Juico executive of the year. They must know something we don’t with regards to this issue.”
Despite the development, Tabal said she still hopes to be part of the national team to the Kuala Lumpur Games.
“For now, I just want to focus and continue my training and hope I get to represent the country in the coming SEA Games,” said the runner from Cebu. “All I want is to run for the country.”
Tabal recently won the Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon in Canada after suiting up for the Philippines last year as its first woman marathoner who officially qualified in the Olympics.
Using the same guidelines for selection, Sering said they also removed Filipino-Americans Caleb Stuart, Jessica Barnard and Donovant Arriola Jr. from the Philippine delegation in the 11-nation Games on Aug. 19-30.
Stuart is the reigning record-holder and defending champion in the hammer throw event of the SEA Games, Arriola got a bronze medal in men’s long jump in 2015 Singapore and Barnard placed third in the women’s 3000 steeple chase.
“Arriola informed us that he’s injured but there was no word or performance report from Stuart and Barnard,” said Patafa president Philip Ella Juico. “It means they are not interested.”
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