• Marathoner Tabal officially Rio-bound

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    Mary Joy Tabal  CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    Mary Joy Tabal
    CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    Rio Olympics Chef de Mission Joey Romasanta announced that mara­-thoner Mary Joy Tabal would represent the Philippines in the Summer Games in August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    “The long talks on the procedural requirements appears to be resolved by both parties,” said Romasanta on Thursday. Romasanta is pertaining to the recent meeting between Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) President Philip Ella Juico and Tabal.

    “It clears the problem once and for all,” added Romasanta.

    William Souza of the Sports Entries Continental Specialist, through an official letter, has confirmed Tabal as the official female representative of the Philippines in athletics.

    That means Tabal’s participation will junk Marestella Torres-Sunang’s wild card entry under the International Olympic Committee’s universality rule.

    “The universality slot of Torres will be scratched since we already complied with the gender equality rule. But then again, this may be a blessing in disguise because she [Torres-Sunang] still has the chance to qualify,” Romasanta said.

    “She needs to try harder and hopefully to qualify as well. Let this be a challenge to Marestella also,” he added.

    Torres-Sunang, meanwhile, said that she’s not harboring any ill feeling.

    “I’m happy for her [Tabal] because she already fixed her problem with PATAFA. She is really worthy to go to the Olympics because she is legit qualifier,” Torres-Sunang told The Manila Times.

    The 35-year old Torres-Sunang was the Philippines’ bet in the long jump competition of the Games in 2008 in Beijing and in 2012 in London.

    She said that she’s aiming to reach the Olympic qualifying standard of 6.70 meters in the qualifiers in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan this month, and in Thailand next month.

    Tabal met the Olympic qualifying standard time of 2:45:00 when she registered 2:43.31 in the 2016 ScotiaBank Ottawa Marathon in Canada last month.

    She will fly to Japan last week of July to train in the Nippon Sports and Science University in Yokohama then proceed to Brazil a week before the opening rites of the Games.

    Tabal is the first Filipina mara­thoner to compete in the Olympics.

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