Glittering start to Tabal's journey to Tokyo Olympics | Inquirer Sports

Glittering start to Tabal’s journey to Tokyo Olympics

/ 04:56 PM August 19, 2017

Mary Joy Tabal wins the first gold medal for the Philippines when she ruled the women’s marathon at the 2017 SEA Games in Putrajaya, Malaysia. INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia — Soon after crossing the finish line in this kingly, immense district, Mary Joy Tabal said she would like to immediately visit a church.

“It’s been a long time since I went to church, I have so much to thank God for,” said Tabal after ruling the Southeast Asian Games women’s marathon for the country’s first gold.

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Tabal said that every time she passed by the end of the loop where Filipino fans were gathered, “it’s like all my hardships disappear.”

READ: Tabal delivers first gold medal for PH, rules women’s marathon

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“I would feel very heavy physically, but I just decided to go my own pace. I knew that God will guide me as long as I keep running and keep my own pace” said Tabal.

Now the petite lass from Guba, Cebu City is setting her sights on the Asian Games next year in Indonesia.

“We have a long-term plan all the way to Tokyo 2020, I don’t want to commit the same mistakes I had in Rio, so this early I want to prepare,” added Tabal who stands to receive P300,000 from the Philippine Sports Commission.

READ: Tabal wins half marathon in Canada

By all indications, Tabal has already put aside her rift with the Philippine Track and Field Association as she went on to hug Patafa chief Philip Ella Juico at the end of the race.

Juico stationed himself by the drinking station and even handed her drinks in one of the four loops around Putrajaya government district.

She also made no mention of her strained relations with the athletics body that sacked her twice in the last two years over issues regarding her coaches and sponsors.

Her gold medal victory, the first for the Philippines in this SEA Games, made it all seemed right.

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TAGS: Athletics, Mary Joy Tabal, Philip Ella Juico, SEA Games, Sport, Tokyo Olympics
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