DEFENDING women's marathon champion Mary Joy Tabal says she's now 100 percent ready for the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games during the sendoff presser on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at the Motor Ace showroom on Gorordo Avenue, Cebu City.
Tabal, 30, will try to defend her crown she won in 2017 Kuala Lumpur Games. The women’s marathon will start at 6:`15 a.m., which is an unusual time for a running competition in the Philippines. The usual gun start for a marathon in the country is at around 3 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Motor Ace Philippines, Tabal’s major corporate backer, hosted a sendoff presser.
“We tried to run the same as race time. It starts at 6:15 and it’s expected to finish within 9 a.m.
By that time the weather is projected to be hot already. To avoid rehydration she has to drink water on every station,” said national team coach for marathon John Philip Dueñas.
Tabal’s camp spent five months to prepare for the SEA Games. She trained in Japan for more than two months.
Motor Ace Philippines president Jonel Borromeo said that his ward is more than prepared this time compared to the 2017 SEA Games.
The Guba, Cebu City-native doesn’t want to disappoint the Filipinos.
“It’s always an honor to represent not just Cebu but the whole country. I’m nervous at the same time excited. I’m nervous because of the overwhelming expectation of the Filipinos. But I’ll make sure to give my best especially that I’m doing this in front of the Filipinos,” she said.
Motor Ace Philippines will also have another representative in Sherwin Managuil who will compete in the obstacle course racing (OCR).
“The support for the OCR is not as heavy as the marathon. We’ve been supporting (Joy) Tabal since 2016 and she has done international and local training. This year we are lucky enough we got two sponsors for Joy, the Asics and Milo, which helped us on her Japan training,” said Borromeo.
Meanwhile, Tabal also urged her fellow Filipino athletes to stay focus on their goals and not be distracted on some issues on the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
“My advice to athletes like me is to just focus on the competition because we are the ones who will represent the country. I think one of the best things to do is to minimize the use of social media,” said Tabal when asked for her reaction.
The 2019 SEA Games will be held in Manila, Clark, Pampanga, Subic and Tagaytay. This is the country’s first hosting of the SEA Games since 2005.
“For me as I coach, what I can say is just concentrate on your sport because there’s a committee handling on that,” added Dueñas.
The Philippines SEA Games Organizing Committee (Philsoc) was on hot waters after news about food and accommodation of the athletes were reported a few days before the official opening ceremony of the biennial meet on Nov. 30.
“Just to clarify, Joy (Tabal) mentioned social media because what she meant was we don’t know what’s real or not on social media. It’s important for the athlete to just focus on the sport,” added Borromeo. (SunStar Cebu)