BY virtue of her four-peat feat in the Milo Marathon National Final last year, Olympic Marathoner Mary Joy Tabal earned the right to run for the Philippines in the Southeast Asian Games (Seag) in August in Malaysia.

According to Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner Ramon Fernandez, Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (Patafa) president Philipp Ella Juico told him that because of Tabal’s win in the Milo Marathon last November, she has qualified for the Sea Games Marathon on Aug. 17-31.

“I talked to Popoy (Juico) after our board meeting last Tuesday night, and asked him about Joy’s non-inclusion of the National Team even if she is the country’s top lady runner. He told me that Joy is already a shoo-in for Sea Games, but not a member of the Philippine Team, because Joy don’t want to train in Manila. So I told him, na may mas gagaling pa ba kay Joy sa mga athletes nila ngayon? Ingon siya wala,” Fernandez stressed.

With the announcement of Juico, Tabal can now concentrate on her training abroad, while Fernandez will try to sort out things with Juico and Patafa secretary general Renato Unso on their next meeting.

“I will have to clear the issue once and for all when I meet them next time. There is a double-standard in Patafa. They allowed Fil-foreigner athletes to train at the home country, but why they can’t allow Joy to train in Cebu? What could there coaches give to Joy? The way I see it now, they don’t have any athlete who is better than Joy,” added Fernandez.