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MANILA, Philippines – Mary Joy Tabal, the marathon queen of the Philippines, made the cut-off time for the Rio Olympics by clocking two hours, 43 minutes and 29 seconds in placing 39th at the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon on Sunday, May 29.
This exceeded the qualifying time by one minute and 31 seconds, and if the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association accepts this result and reinstates her into the national team, she will be the third entry for athletics in Rio after Eric Crey and Marestella Torres earlier qualified.
Tabal left the national pool in 2015, a few months after placing a surprise second in the Southeast Asian Games marathon event. The conflict was allegedly due to a stipulation that PATAFA wanted to clear sponsors wishing to fund an athlete. She has been training on her own with the assistance of sponsors instead of being trained through government funding.
No PATAFA official was available for immediate comment but a source had said Tabal must apply for reinstatement first..
Philip John Duenas, Tabal’s coach, told Rappler.com that he will be meeting with MotorAce/Kawasaki, her sponsor, on Monday to decide the next course of action.
Tabal will be arriving from Canada on June 5, but it is not known if she will meet immediately with PATAFA in Manila or proceed to Cebu to see her sponsor and chart her entry into the Philippine Olympic team.
MotorAce/ Kawasaki funded Tabal’s training in Japan, which began late January, for her to qualify for the Olympics. Her first attempt to meet the cut off time failed as she sputtered at the Boston Marathon’s notorious Heartbreak Hills. – Rappler.com