THE country’s top marathoner Mary Joy Tabal believes that the increase of the allowance for the Olympic-bound athletes will help motivate them in the 2016 Rio Olympics, which fires off on Aug. 5 in Brazil.

Sakto jud ang increase for us athletes. Mas maningkamot jud pagmaayo mi mga athletes,” Tabal told Sun.Star Cebu on a Facebook chat yesterday.

President Rodrigo Duterte increased the allowance of the athletes and coaches and also the officials going to Rio Olympics. During the sendoff party last Monday at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace, the president increased the allowance from $1,000 to $3,000 for the athletes and coaches and from $3,000 to $5,000 for the officials.

“This is a very big help for my training especially after Rio Olympics. The allowance I get from my sponsors is just enough for my training and supplements. I’m also supporting my family so this can really help me,” said the 27-year-old Tabal, who has not joined commercial races since she started aiming for the Rio Olympics.

“We (athletes) have sacrificed months for this—from joining the qualifier and eventually going to Rio. The athletes deserve the increase and we thank the President for it,” she said.

Tabal of Brgy. Guba, Cebu City is part of the 12-man member of the Philippine Team to Brazil. She will be competing in the women’s marathon event on Aug. 14.

The rest of the national team members are Eric Cray (men’s 400-meter hurdles), Marestella Torres-Sunang (women’s long jump), Nestor Colonia (men’s weightlifting), Kirstie Alora (women’s taekwondo), Hidilyn Diaz (women’s weightlifting), Rogen Ladon (men's boxing), Ian Lariba (women's table tennis), Charly Suarez (men's boxing), Miguel Tabuena (men’s golf) and swimmers Jessie Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi.

Tabal started her road to Olympics early this year by joining two qualifying races. She fell short in the Boston Marathon last April, but finally get the mark in the ScotiaBank Ottawa Marathon last May, where she clocked 2 hours 43 minutes and 31 seconds. The qualifying time for women’s marathon was 2:45.

Tabal, who’s backed by Motor Ace-Kawasaki Racing Team, is currently on her fourth week of training in Japan under Nippon Sports Science University and coach Akio Usami. Tabal will complete the training on Aug. 2 and will directly travel to Brazil. She will have around two weeks to acclimatize and adjust to Brazil’s time zone.