Mary Joy Tabal to run in SEA Games

THE issue surrounding Mary Joy Tabal’s inclusion to the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games was finally resolved after the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) reinstated the Cebuana marathoner to the national team Thursday.

The reinstatement by Patafa, the national sports association (NSA) for athletics in the country, came on the final day of submission of athletes’ names to the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).

Patafa said in its official statement that Tabal has committed to comply with all of Patafa’s conditions stated on a letter dated June 14.

The agreement between the two camps paved the way for Tabal’s second stint to the SEA Games on August 19 to 30 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Tabal of Barangay Guba, Cebu City finished with a silver medal in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore and is determined to improve her performance this time around.

“We look forward to Ms. Tabal working with the entire Patafa team as a positive contributor to the victories that the 33 other members of the athletics team are well on their way to achieving for the country and the Filipino people,” Patafa said in the statement.

Patafa said Tabal has committed to comply to the rules of the association such as: having the Patafa national coach as her official coach and reporting to Patafa’s office upon her arrival from overseas training in Italy and regularly thereafter.

Patafa said that Tabal declares that she is withdrawing her letter to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), which the latter asked her to sign. Tabal had already stated that she never spoke negatively about Patafa in public and in social media.

This was Tabal’s second reinstatement. The first one was when she requested to be accepted into the team for her 2016 Rio Olympics stint, where she completed the marathon event.

The 27-year-old Cebuana is currently training at the Tuscany Camp in Italy when she learned about the reinstatement and was thankful on the chances given to her to represent the country in the international stage.

“I am happy to be reinstated and thank you to Patafa and Dr. (Philip Ella) Juico for allowing me to carry the flag again in the SEA Games. It is a great honor to be given another chance to represent the country. I am thankful,” she said.

Tabal will compete in the women’s 42-kilometer event with five-time SEA Games gold medalist Rene Herrera as her coach. Tabal, however, allowed to bring her own technical staff to the SEA Games competition.

“Ms Tabal will have as her designated official coach, Mr Rene Herrera, five-time SEA Games gold medalist, and is further allowed to bring her own technical staff to the SEA Games competitions, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the SEA Games organizing committee and the Philippine Olympic Committee,” read part of the statement.


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