MANILA, Philippines -- Mary Joy Tabal, the first Filipina marathoner to compete in the Olympics, will be missing the upcoming Southeast Asian Games for a very special reason.
The 32-year-old Tabal announced on social media on Easter Sunday that she is expecting her first child with her husband, Hector Dan Jimenez, a Lieutenant Junior Grade of the Philippine Navy. The couple married in January after a year-long engagement.
"We're absolutely ecstatic to let you all know that an enlightened soul has blessed Dan and I, and will be joining us in early October," Tabal said.
Tabal said she has already informed the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) as well as the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) of her situation.
She will miss the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam in May but wants to return to training and competitions by the end of the year.
Tabal won SEA Games gold in the 2017 edition of the event in Kuala Lumpur, and placed second to countrywoman Christine Hallasgo in 2019. She also won silver in 2015 in Singapore.
In 2016, she represented the Philippines in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. She also competed in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.