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Tabal yields to PATAFA

Mary Joy Tabal has submitted her request for reinstatement in the national team, a prerequisite for her inclusion to the Philippine delegation to the Rio Olympics, the marathoner’s management team revealed yesterday.

Tabal arrived in the country from Canada late Sunday night after finishing eighth in the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon last May 29, a race that was sanctioned by the IAAF as a qualifying event for the Rio Games this August.

“I acknowledge the need to be a part of the national team in order to represent our country,” said Tabal, 26, who clocked 2 hours 43 minutes and 30 seconds in the Ottawa race, during a press conference cum victory party at the Casino Español in Cebu City.

As soon as Tabal set foot on local shores, efforts were made to reach out to the PATAFA, according to the runner’s publicist Bannie Geronimo.

Tabal just needed to submit a time of 2 hours and 45 minutes to make the Olympic grade.

PATAFA head Philip Juico welcomed the news of Tabal’s decision to patch things up but cautions that the IAAF has yet to issue a statement if Tabal has indeed qualified.

“I told them that this is not going to be ministerial,” said Juico, noting that Tabal’s application will have to go through the coaching staff and the PATAFA board.

Still, it would be foolish not to accept Tabal back into its fold since she earned the Olympic grade on a strong performance and not on the Universality principle being advocated by the International Olympic Committee.

Chipi Borromeo, whose company Motor Ace Philippines is bankrolling Tabal’s training and overseas stints the past several months, acknowledged the importance of being aligned with the PATAFA.

“At the end of the day, it is really up to the PATAFA. Joy has to abide by the rules they set out if she wants to be a part of the national team,” said Borromeo.

In the event everything falls into place, Tabal will spend the next few weeks in Japan for training.

“As soon as everything is sorted out, I will leave for Japan to begin my training. I just don’t want to compete in Rio but make the medal podium,” she added.