Outbreak dampens Tabal’s tokyo shot

MARY Joy Tabal is not giving up on that 2020 Tokyo Olympic dream just yet as she tries to find a suitable qualifying race after two of her international races did not push through due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.

The 30-year-old runner got a boost on Monday when her application was accepted under the elite category in the Seoul Marathon, a Gold Label race, set on March 22, 2020.

However, uncertainty looms as South Korea has raised the country’s virus alert to the highest level, in a bid to strengthen the government response to the outbreak. With the current situation, there’s a possibility that the marathon will cut its number of participants or worse get postponed.

“I think this will be cancelled also. There’s still no announcement but it looks like it’s heading that way,” Tabal told SunStar Cebu.

South Korea reported 161 more coronavirus cases on Monday, taking the nationwide total to 763 and making it the world’s largest total outside of mainland China.

Currently, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said there is no travel ban yet on South Korea but Filipinos are advised to delay non-essential travel to the country amid the Covid-19 health crisis.

The Hong Kong Standard Chartered Marathon, Tabal’s intended first international race this year and one of her qualifying races for Tokyo Marathon, got cancelled due to the virus.

The other race, Tokyo Marathon, set next month was not cancelled, but the organizers have lessened the participants to hundreds from 38,000 registered runners. Tabal’s team, Asics, also backed out of the event.

With about five months left before the Summer Games, time is definitely running out for Cebu’s marathon queen. (RSC)


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