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Tabal withers in Brazilian heat

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PH marathoner 124th among 157 starters.

RIO DE JANEIRO – Mary Joy Tabal of the Philippines could not handle Brazil’s noontime heat Sunday and finished way outside her targeted time in the women’s marathon of the Rio Olympics.

Tabal aimed at surpassing her personal best of two hours 43 minutes and 31 seconds in the race that started and ended at Sambrodome, the venue of the world-famous Rio Carnival.

But she failed to live up to her own expectations, terribly suffering under the heat and finishing with a time of 3:02:27, which was good for 124th among 157 starters.

Jemima Jelagat Sumgong gave Kenya its first Olympic gold in women’s marathon, winning with a time of 2:24:04, which is just under a minute off the Olympic record.

Eunice Jepkirul Kirwa of Bahrain took the silver medal in 2:24:13 while Ethiopian Mare Dibaba bagged the bronze with a time of 2:24:30.

Three runners from the United States finished inside the top 10, joined by one more entry from Ethiopia, Belarus, Bahrain and the People’s Republic of Korea.

The top finishers were already done with the press interviews along the finish line area when the lone Filipina entry crossed the finish, cheered on by the crowd.

Tabal was 38 minutes and 23 seconds behind the winner from Kenya.

Tabal was so exhausted after the race she was on the verge of collapse. Medical staff of the Rio Olympics attended to her immediately.

It took some time before Tabal regained her composure. Medics offered to wheel her out but said there was really no need for the wheelchair.

A total of 24 did not finish the race.

Tabal said she saw runners quit during the race, most of them in the final 10 kms. Runners crossing the finish line and falling to the ground was a common sight.

“Yung iba talaga tumutumba na sa daan. Masyado mainit kanina. Minsan gusto ko na din tumigil pero pinilit ko tapusin ang karera,” she said.

“Sabi ko sa sarili ko, hindi ako papayag na DNF (did not finish) ang Pilipinas. Kaya slowly but surely, tinapos ko. Hindi ko na inisip yung time,” added Tabal.