After setting PH record in 21K, Tabal eyes Olympic spot in Boston

April 14, 2016 3:29 am 

CEBU CITY, April 13 — After setting the Philippine record in the 21K during her training stint in Japan, Cebuana Mary Joy Tabal now sets her eyes on a bigger prize, a spot in the Rio Olympics in August.

Tabal, the three-time Milo Marathon national finals champion, arrived in the US after two-month training stint in Japan and will be competing in Monday's (Philippine time) Boston Marathon.

She earned the right to compete in Boston after winning the Milo Marathon for the third time last year, and she will be aiming to make the 2:45 cutoff for the 2016 Olympics.

Her personal best in the marathon is 2:48.

"The training in Japan really helped me a lot. Not only have I seen improvement in me physically, but I also built some confidence and that is very important when I compete," said Tabal.

More than just confidence, Tabal reset an eight-year-old record of the Philippines in the 21K at the Adachi Goshikizakura Half Marathon in Tokyo.

She finished the event in 1 hour 18 minutes and 44 seconds, erasing her previous personal best of 1:19:32 she registered in Singapore and is also one second faster than the record Mercedita Fetalvero set on Feb. 3, 2008.

"I was not expecting to break my personal record and even the half-marathon record because I was there as a guest runner only. I wanted to test the results of my training and there was no plan at all to compete because my main goal is the Boston Marathon," said Tabal.

To make it as the official Philippine record, Tabal needs to submit her race results to the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association, which will then endorse it to the Philippine Sports Commission.

However, for Tabal, her priority right now is the Boston Marathon and making it to the Olympics as the first Cebuana marathoner.

“I have worked really, really hard in my sport. And I dreamed to achieve a certain goal and I worked hard to get to that. The ticket to the Olympics is not in my hands yet, but it’s close. I think I just have to believe in myself and my trainings. A lot of people believe in me so maybe I should too. This is really be the biggest challenge in my life and a once in a lifetime experience and opportunity so I have to make the most out of it. I just pray for the best condition come race day,” said Tabal. (PNA)

LAP/EB/MP/RSM

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