Unlucky Tabal eyes Ottawa

MARY Joy Tabal is eyeing to suit up in the 2020 Ottawa Marathon, which is her last shot for qualifying in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, after three international races got canceled due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.

The Hong Kong Marathon, Seoul Marathon and Tokyo Marathon, all major qualifying races for the Summer Games, were affected by the virus that originated in Wuhan, China, leaving Tabal with only one race left—the Ottawa Marathon in May.

“I’m still thinking of joining this race. Right now my chances of qualifying are very low,” the 2016 Rio Olympian told SunStar Cebu.

Tabal will need to pull off a herculean performance to be able to snag that coveted Olympic slot for the women’s 42-kilometer competition. She needs to either finish in the top five in the women’s standing in Ottawa or hit the Olympic standard time of 2 hours, 29 minutes and 30 seconds.

“Getting that standard time would be very hard. My only chance is the other option, which is make it to the top five. But that is also a tough target to get,” said Tabal, who has a best time of 2:43:29.

“My chances for those two options are very low. I can’t catch up already on the ranking points since the three races were already canceled,” said Tabal, two days after receiving a major award for athletes in the 37th Sportswriters Association of Cebu (SAC)-San Miguel Brewery Sports Awards held at the SM City Cebu.

Tabal’s long-time coach, John Philip Dueñas, in a separate interview said the Ottawa race is their last plan. But Tabal’s camp, led by her major backer, Motor Ace Philippines, will still meet to discuss the cost of the race.

Lady luck smiled on Tabal on her last two races in the Ottawa Marathon. She finished at eighth place in the 42K distance in 2016 before winning the half-marathon the next year.

She’s hoping for a repeat or even a better finish when things push through in May. (RSC)