PATAFA reinstates marathoner Mary Joy Tabal
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA) reinstated marathon queen Mary Joy Tabal on Tuesday, June 14, taking a step closer towards putting her in the Olympic team to Rio.
In a statement, the local track body said: "So we put our differences aside, we reinstated her, and we have allowed her to follow her own training program, despite our concerns."
PATAFA president Philip Juico, in a text message to Rappler, said: "Hopefully her reinstatement will pave the way for her participation in Rio. [It] assumes she is accepted by IAAF (the world ruling athletics body) and her doping tests are OK."
Juico said results of the blood test, which Tabal took on Monday, June 13, will be known in 10 working days. The IAAF announcement, he said, will be made on July 11.
It was not known if Tabal will get her previous allowance of P30,000 – being a silver medalist in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games – or start with the usual national athlete allowance of P9,000.
Torres was given a slot as the Philippines availed of its right under the IAAF to get a female athlete if a male athlete had qualified on time. But athletics sources said that if Torres jumps 6.71 meters, which would break her Philippine mark of 6.70 meters, she can qualify for Rio.
The Scotiabank marathon where Tabal made the cut-off time with close to two minutes to spare is listed as an IAAF Gold Label Race. She clocked 2 hours, 43 minutes, and 31 seconds to place 8th in the women's division. The Olympic qualifying mark is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Tabal, who returned to Cebu after meeting PATAFA officials with her sponsor, Motor Ace Philippines, could not be reached for comment. But a statement from Motor Ace said she was greatly relieved to be back in the national team.
"When I qualified, you could say that I could not fully celebrate because I wasn't sure that I will be reinstated. But now that I am, the happiness is unexplainable," the Motor Ace statement quoted Tabal as saying.
Tabal left the national team last year after alleged differences over her training and sponsorship agreements. She returned to her coach in Cebu, Philip Duenas, who led her to her second-place finish in the 2015 SEA Games marathon.
It was the lone Philippine medal in the 42.195-kilometer event, which the country ruled in the past.
Tabal, in an interview last week, said she would prepare to leave for Japan to prepare for the Rio Olympics. Motor Ace Philippines helped secure funds for Tabal to train in Japan starting late January to qualify for the Olympics. – Rappler.com
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