AFTER winning the country’s first gold medal in the women’s marathon of the 29th Southeast Asian Games, Mary Joy Tabal said she is not done yet.
The 28-year-old Tabal now has plans to seek a slot to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and improve on her showing there.
This time, she plans to do more intensive training regimens in Italy.
Tabal will now seek out the expertise of Olympic legend Akiro Ozami and top Italian coach Giusseppe Giambrone in her next training stint there.
“Target namin ang 2020 Olympics. We need certain competitions to qualify,” said Tabal’s coach John Philip Duenas.
Duenas was with Tabal when she went straight from the airport to the office of Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Butch Ramirez yesterday to pay a courtesy call.
Tabal said that her dream to make it back to the Olympics is once again alive.
“This gold gave me confidence, yes, but I am open to learning more. I still have a lot to learn,” said the 4’11” Tabal after she presented her medal to Ramirez, who assured her of the PSC’s support.
“We shall support Joy, we shall support athletes who have a chance to win in the Olympics. This is not only a promise, this is a commitment,” said Ramirez.
For Tabal, the road to her SEA Games gold medal win was marked with heartaches and challenges which almost denied her the chance to participate.
“I faced a lot of challenges, but I am here. Thanks to all those who stayed by my side and helped me reach for my goals, dumami ang tatay ko” said Tabal.