CEBUANA marathoner Mary Joy Tabal will bring a mosquito net when she goes to Brazil for the Rio Olympics which kicks off on Aug. 5 in Rio de Janeiro.

The 26-year-old Tabal of Motor Ace-Kawasaki Racing Team said that she’s not afraid of the Zika Virus but, bringing a mosquito net is part of being careful and responsible while in Brazil.

The World Health Organization (WHO) emergency committee said last Tuesday that the risk of Zika Virus spreading at the Olympics is “very low.”

"The Committee concluded that there is a very low risk of further international spread of Zika virus as a result of the Olympic and Paralympic Games as Brazil will be hosting the Games during the Brazilian winter," the WHO said which was posted at ABC.net.

The Summer Games in Brazil is expected to attract up to 500,000 tourists and more than 10,000 athletes worldwide.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus which can lead to severe birth defects in babies. There was a Zika Virus outbreak last year in Brazil with some 1.5 million people affected. The virus, which usually causes only mild, flu-like symptoms, can also trigger adult-onset neurological problems such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which can cause paralysis and death.

“For me it’s better to be extra careful and for me, brining a mosquito net will help,” Tabal said, who will be flying to Japan by the end of the month to train before the Olympics.

POC-confirmed

Tabal received a confirmation from Joey Romansata of Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) yesterday, stating that she is now officially qualified as part of the RP delegation to Rio Olympics. She was also informed that the Philippine Team will be leaving from Manila to Brazil on July 23.

Tabal will not be on the trip with the Philippine Team since she’ll be in Japan that time. She said that POC has no problem with it.

“The POC has no problem with it. They just advised me to write a letter of request that my flight is from Japan to Brazil,” she said.

Tabal said that she will attach her training program designed by coach Akio Usami of Japan and approved by long-time coach John Philip Dueñas on the letter of request.

Tabal added that she will arrive in Brazil before the opening ceremony on Aug.5, which is a week before the women’s marathon event.

The native of Brgy. Guba, Cebu City will train in Japan for six weeks under the Nippon Sports Science University in the City of Yokohama. Tabal has already started a light training her in Cebu with Dueñas.

“We are doing short intervals and endurance but there are still no intense training since my body is still recovering from the previous marathons. By next week will start to up the training,” she said.

Tabal is first Filipina marathoner to make it to the Olympics, and also the first Olympic qualifier from Cebu after 20 long years.