by Nick Giongco
Mary Joy Tabal of Cebu City yesterday sent a message to the Philippine Track and Field Association (PATAFA) after topping the half marathon event of the 2017 Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon in Canada.
Tabal’s winning time of one hour 16 minutes and 27 seconds was more than two minutes faster than her previous best time and national record of 1:18.44.
A far second was Canadian Brittany Moran, who clocked 1 hour and 42 minutes, and a distant third was another Canadian bet, Lynda Gingras, who submitted a time of 1:22.58.
The 27-year-old Tabal, the first Filipino female to vie in the Olympics (Rio 2016), placed eighth overall.
This sterling showing is expected to weigh heavily on the PATAFA’s decision to include her on the team that will compete in the 29th Southeast Asian Games this August in Malaysia.
Commissioner Mon Fernandez of the Philippine Sports Commission, one of Tabal’s most ardent backers, believes there is no other option but to include Tabal, who is not a part of the national team but is exclusively training in Tuscany, Italy, courtesy of a Cebu-based company.
Based on what Tabal showed in Ottawa, the message she delivered was loud and clear.
Last year, Tabal and PATAFA chief Philip Juico had a highly-publicized spat after the Patafa initially declined to recognize her feat in the 2016 Scotiabank race, which awarded her a spot in Rio.
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