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Mary Joy Tabal rules out Tokyo Olympic bid

It's a "no-go" for national marathon champ Mary Joy Tabal in the Tokyo Olympics. Milo (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Multi-titled Filipino marathoner Mary Joy Tabal bared that she may not be able to make a qualification bid for the Tokyo Olympics.

No thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic that stalled her training and even her simple runs and jogs for a lengthy period, Tabal had no choice but to let go of the chance to possibly join EJ Obiena, Caloy Yulo, Eumir Marcial, and Irish Magno at the national team vying for the elusive gold.

"It's a no-go for me na yung Olympics," Tabal told the Sports Bytes podcast.

Not helping her chances is the fact that some of the races that she was supposed to join in what would have been a short buildup window for the Olympiad have been rescheduled to later in the year due to the threat of the COVID-19 variant from the United Kingdom.

"I don't want to stress out more on getting the qualifying kasi I only have January this year up to May, and then all the races na na-email ko which are slated for this quarter, no go sila. Ayoko nang mag-preempt," Tabal further said.

For instance, she bared that she was initially scheduled to run this February, but the marathon was moved to September.

What could possibly change Tabal's mind, however, is if there will be another rescheduling of the Tokyo Olympics.

A rumor swirled last week that the Olympics, which have already been rescheduled due to the pandemic, could be called off again only to be denied by top officials from the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government.

But if ever the Tokyo Olympics will indeed be moved to a period when she would become available, Tabal may defer from her original decision and vie for a women's marathon spot instead.

"If that will be moved again for another year, maybe it's really a good go for me na: 'You have to try again.' I'm not closing doors naman eh," she further said.

Tabal may surely become available early next year as she will be fresh from tying the knot with her fiance Dan Jimenez.

Both Tabal and Jimenez, a soldier who has been doing Ironman triathlons as well, are set to be married on Jan. 8, 2022.

Meanwhile, her passing on the Tokyo Olympics does not necessarily mean Tabal will not race in the Japanese capital this year.

"I plan na magbalik-training sa Japan kasi by October, meron akong confirmed marathon to join, the Tokyo Marathon," she revealed.

She then added, "I am also looking into the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon."

Interestingly enough, both races are exactly a week apart as the Tokyo Marathon is scheduled on Oct. 17 and the Hong Kong Marathon is on Oct. 24.

The 31-year-old Tabal will use the said marathons as part of her early buildup for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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