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Philippine Track and Field Association (Patafa) president Philip Juico yesterday warned the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) about letting marathoner Mary Joy Tabal gain access to the Rio Olympics.
“You’ll be rewarding disrespect, disobedience and insubordination,” said Juico. “We are following Olympic standards as well in values and respect for authority and rule of law.”
“If they (PSC and POC) allow it, then other athletes will try to do the same thing without giving respect to authority,” said Juico, stressing that the Patafa is not against Tabal returning to its fold.
Tabal had met the Olympic standard by placing eighth in the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon held over the weekend in Canada, tapping private sponsors to help her compete in numerous Olympic qualifying events the last several months.
Juico said Tabal, 26, the running pride of Cebu City, had severed ties with the Patafa owing to differences in her training and her sponsorship projects.
Tabal needed to submit a clocking of 2 hours and 45 minutes to make the grade for the Rio Games this August but in Ottawa, she clocked 2:43.30.
Juico could not say if the IAAF will honor Tabal’s feat since she didn’t have an endorsement from the Patafa, having resigned from being a national team member last year.
“They don’t have all the facts,” said Juico, pointing to the PSC and the POC as being unaware of the many issues and factors behind Tabal’s feud with the Patafa.
PSC chairman Richie Garcia even rallied behind Tabal and even reported to POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco that there’s no stopping Tabal from being included in the delegation.
But when asked yesterday, Cojuangco backtracked a bit, saying that while it is the POC the recommends, the NSA should also be factored in.
“I will discuss this matter with Mikee (Cojuangco-Jaworski), said Cojuangco, confident that her daughter would be able to shed light on the matter being a member of the International Olympic Committee.
Rio Olympics chief of mission Joey Romasanta was likewise unsure if Tabal’s accomplishment was a cause for a celebration.
Like Juico, Romasanta noted that it is the IAAF that will decide if Tabal will be allowed to run in Rio carrying the Philippine flag. (Nick Giongco)