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Patafa’s Rio dilemma

Cebu running queen Mary Joy Tabal made the grade for a slot to the 2016 Rio Olympics after placing eighth in the women’s category of the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon yesterday in the Canadian capital of Ottawa.

Informed about Tabal’s success, Patafa chief Philip Juico wasn’t too thrilled.

“She resigned from the Patafa last year,” said Juico when contacted yesterday.

For Tabal to be taken back into the fold, Juico said that the 26-year-old runner would have to reapply to the Patafa first.

But that’s not all.

Juico said Tabal’s feat complicated matters on the Philippines’ qualified entries to the Aug. 5 to 21 Rio Games as the Patafa has already been informed that long jump queen Marestella Torres has been awarded a wild card berth.

“The thing is that Marestella will get that slot if no other female bet from the Philippines will qualify,” said Juico.

“I will have to consult with the Patafa coaches and even the IAAF,” said Juico.

Tabal, the 2015 Southeast Asian Games silver medalist, clocked 2:43.30 seconds for 39th overall, needing only to submit 2:45.00 to earn an Olympic ticket.

Tabal’s trip to Canada was bankrolled by a private group: Motor Ace Racing Philippines/Kawasaki.

Before traveling to Canada, Tabal, a resident of Barangay Guba in Cebu City, spent two weeks of training camp in Japan.

Juico, meanwhile, is a bit concerned with the impending public reaction about Tabal should the Patafa raise the issue of Tabal not being a member of the national team.

“I am afraid that this issue might even reach (incoming President) Rodrigo Duterte,” said Juico.

Juico clarified that Tabal was not kicked out of the national team but voluntarily resigned.

“We had plans for her but she wanted to do it her way,” said Juico.