by Waylon Galvez
Rio Olympics marathoner Mary Joy Tabal has been excluded from the athletics roster for her failure to comply with rules set by the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) for this year’s Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
PATAFA president Philip Ella Juico said that the selection process used by the association is not solely based on performance by athletes, but on other aspects as well such as respect and honor – and this is where the 27-year-old Tabal failed to comply.
“For the record, the selection for the final lineup of the Philippine team for the SEA Games does not rest alone in performance,” Juico said yesterday in a press briefing attended by members of the national team as the association is finalizing the list of athletes to the SEA Games this August.
“Joining the national team starts with meeting the prescribed standard,” said the former chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
“It does not end there. Performance therefore, it must be stressed, is not the sole criterion for choosing the most suitable national athlete. Neither is the sole criterion for the privilege of remaining in the roster of national athletes,” he added.
Equally important, according to Juico, is for an athlete to have a “word of honor, fidelity to the national team, respect for fellow athletes and authority, commitment to the federation and the absence of any abhorrent attitude of entitlement” as set by PATAFA together with the coaching staff.
This is not the first time that PATAFA and the camp of Tabal are in conflict as the native of Cebu was initially barred from competing in the Rio Olympics last year by the association due to the same issues.
Tabal earned a spot in the Rio Games via the 2016 Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon, thus becoming the first Filipinas to compete in the Olympics.
Tabal proved her worth again to be part of the national team when she topped the half marathon in the same Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon in Canada recently.
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