MARY Joy Tabal’s training in Japan ends next week as Cebu’s pride gets ready to defend her crown in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Tabal will complete her training under Japanese coaches Yuhei Sato and Akio Usami by the second week of the month. She returns to Cebu on Nov. 11, 2019.
Sato is the head coach of the Nippon Sports Science University (NSSU) women’s long-distance squad while Usami is a veteran of the 1968 Mexico, 1972 Munich and 1976 Montreal Olympics.
Tabal had trained under NSSU as part of her preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympics. The 30-year-old Tabal will work with long-time coach John Philip Duenas for the taper and the final phase of her preparations for the SEA Games.
The SEA Games will be hosted by the Philippines from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11. The women’s marathon event is set on Dec. 6.
Tabal won the 2017 SEA Games in dominating fashion with a time of 2 hours, 48 minutes and 26 seconds. She was seven minutes ahead of silver medalist Hoang Thi Thanh of Vietnam.
The 2015 SEA Games gold medalist Natthaya Thanaronnawat of Thailand was 10 minutes off the pace. She finished with a bronze medal.
Tabal said she wants to get a better time this year. (RSC)