MANILA -- Despite leaving the Philippine national team last year, Filipina runner Mary Joy Tabal kept her Olympic dreams alive.
And this hope helped her persevere in international competitions until she eventually qualified for the 2016 Olympics when she set her personal best of 2:43:31 at the Ottawa Marathon in Canada last month.
“I was a former national team member. Pero 'yung goal ko to qualify for the Olympics, matagal ko nang dream 'yun. Nung umalis ako [sa national team] hindi pa rin naputol ang dream na 'yun,” she said in an interview on ANC’s "The Daily Serve."
Tabal, who has competed in marathons in the US, France, Japan and Korea, admitted that she was the one who left the national team.
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This is why after qualifying, she immediately worked on her reinstatement to the national team by reaching out to the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA).
“Sayang naman kung hindi ko mai-represent ang Pilipinas so kinailangan naming sumunod sa procedure para ma-reinstate sa national team. Gumawa ako ng letter at na-approve naman,” she said.
With her reinstatement, Tabal became the first Filipina marathoner slated to compete in the quadrennial Games.
Tabal will be joining her coach John Philip Renas in Japan to train at the Nippon Sports Science University with two months to go before the Olympics.
From Japan, Tabal will head straight to Rio de Janeiro, where she hopes to at least improve on the personal best that she set in Ottawa.
"So sana, isa din ako sa makakuha ng medal, para pagbubutihin ko pa ang ensayo ko. 'Yun talaga ang target ko, to get a medal," she said. -- with a report from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News
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