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All is well?

All’s well that ends well, for now, I guess. So Cebu’s marathon queen Mary Joy Tabal gets to run for the country after all.  After being left out in the cold, Tabal was recently  reinstated by the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA).  Big boss Philip Juico however said she has to abide to the conditions and follow the rules and regulations.  Juico said Tabal should train in Manila  or Baguio City and will be under the designated coach in the person of Rene Herrera, a five – time Sea Games gold medalist.  Rene who hails from Guimaras Province started in my races in the early Nineties in Iloilo City.  When Juico dropped Tabal from the National team I already knew the real reasons.  This was the same situation with my then prized-runner and protégé Herman Suizo.  When he joined Gintong Alay in 1989, I have to give way and agreed for Suizo to be  coached by the designated mentor.  PATAFA also controlled the schedule of races Suizo could join, limiting him to three full marathons a year.  When Tabal joined the Ottawa Marathon, she was running another marathon in two months after failing to qualify in Boston.  I remember PATAFA  suspending national marathon record holder Vertek Buenavista for joining a race without informing the  association.  So I hope Tabal tows the line this time.  As I mentioned earlier, her inclusion in the team is not guaranteed.  She could be axed again if they find some reasons to do so. 

Tabal’s chances

Never mind the Olympics, it’s a mission impossible to even place in the top 50, with her best time of 2:43:29.  But she could win the gold in Kuala Lumpur this August if she trains well and get enough rest before the race.  Tabal got the silver in the last Sea Games with a slow 3:04:39, and was one minute, 14 seconds behind eventual champion Natthaya Thanaronnhwat of Thailand.  In the 2013 Sea Games in Myanmar, a Vietnamese won the gold in 2:45:34 followed by two runners from Myanmar who clocked 2:46:07 and 2:49:01.  If Tabal come close to her personal best of 2:43:29, then she will have a good chance of plucking the gold and show PATAFA that they were right in reinstating her.

Did you know?

South African runner Johannes Coleman ran the 1938 Natal Marathon and was desperate to beat the world record of 2 hours 26 minutes and 42 seconds.  As he near the finish line in Alexander Park, Pietermaritsburg, he looked at his watch which said 2 hours and 23 minutes.  Coleman was overjoyed only to discover that there had been no “official” time recorded for the run and therefore his record could not be ratified.  It turned out that the timer was not at his post when Coleman crossed the line.  All he could do was apologize for his absence, saying that he had not expected any of the runners to finish so soon.  He was having a cup of tea in the refreshment tent.  If I were Coleman, “ Ako to giyabohan ug kape”

ELVIS PRESLEY gave Muhammad Ali a fake-jewel encrusted boxing robe (similar to his jumpsuits) before Ali’s fight against Joe Bugner.  Ali wore the “lucky” robe several times saying “I’m not sure about the “luck” aspect but it was really special”.

Elvis of Asia

Speaking of Elvis, Bobby Torres, coordinator of the Elvis of Asia contest set August 19 at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City, said the winner will receive a trip to Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.  I’ll be representing the Philippines together with several Pinoy Elvises.  We will compete against  the Elvises of Singapore, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Japan, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

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