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Despite Tabal issue, track bets still in high spirits

The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) remains in high-spirit as far as its campaign in the Southeast Asian Games is concerned despite embroiled in another issue with its so-called prodigal daughter.

Patafa president Philip Ella Juico said no amount of distractions could keep the Filipino tracksters out of focus in their training for the August 19-31 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Juico is confident about the country’s chances that he believes surpassing the five gold medals it won in track and field during the Singapore edition of the meet two years ago is achievable.

At the moment, the Patafa chief already has sure golds in reigning SEA Games sprint king Eric Cray, pole vaulter Ernest Obiena, triple jump’s Mark Harry Diones, and long jumper Janry Ubas, who recently leapt 7.88 meter during the Patafa time trial last week to surpass the 7.75 meter jump of Supanara of Thailand in winning the gold in Singapore.

“They are much better than the three golds I mentioned in Congress two to three weeks ago,” said Juico, recalling about his appearance at the Lower House regarding an inquiry about the country’s SEA Games campaign two months from now.

Juico’s display of positive mindset in the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Golden Phoenix Hotel on Tuesday comes in the heels of Patafa’s decision to drop Olympian marathoner Mary Joy Tabal from the national team roster for what officials describe as her utter lack of respect and discipline on federation rules and regulations.

Tabal represented the country in marathon during last year’s Rio Olympics and was a silver medalist in Singapore in 2015.