Citing neglect of rules, the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (Patafa) denied Olympian marathoner Mary Joy Tabal a slot in the Philippine team competing in the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games this August in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“We don’t want her. She doesn’t know how to follow the rules,” said Patafa president Philip Ella Juico on Monday at the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) boardroom in Pasig City.
“While the federation and the national athletics team have focused on the SEA Games preparation with utmost earnestness, certain camp still finds time to politicize the selection for the Philippine team for the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games and mudsling the federation,” added Juico.
The Patafa chief noted that the selection of players for the international tournaments was not base solely on the performance of an athlete.
“Joining the national team starts with meeting the prescribed standard but does not end there. Performance therefore, it must be stressed, is not the sole criterion for choosing the most suitable national athlete,” said Juico.
After a meeting of both camps, The Patafa reinstated Tabal to the national team after her stint in Rio de Janeiro Olympics last year.
National coach Jojo Posadas, meanwhile, said being in the team and representing the country means following the rules and regulations.
“Like in the army, you must obey first before you complain. Being in the national team does not mean only hitting the standard. Attitude and character is a big factor,” said Posadas, husband of former long jump queen Elma Muros-Posadas.
The four-time national Milo Marathon Queen Tabal finished 124th in last year’s quadrennial meet in Brazil. She also set a personal best in the 21-km event in the recently concluded Ottawa Bank Marathon in Canada.
“Beyond winning, the selected athlete must have the capacity and dedication to set a worthy example to other Filipinos and be a unifying, not divisive and disruptive, factor in the sports community,” said Juico.