GUNNING FOR SECOND STRAIGHT GOLD. Rio Olympic Games veteran Mary Joy Tabal will be eyeing her second straight women’s marathon gold on home turf in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in December -Photo by 2018 Asian Games website

Tabal Eyes 2nd Straight SEAG Marathon Crown

Date: Oct 22, 2019

RIO Olympic Games veteran Mary Joy will be gunning for her second straight Southeast Asian Games women’s marathon crown on her own home turf in December.

Tabal, who won her first marathon gold in the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is in the midst of training and, besides from personal coach John Duenas, is also being mentored by Japanese coaches Yuhei Sato and Akio Sami.

The petite and pretty Cebuana was recently in Japan where she trained with Sato, the head coach of the Nippon Sports Science University women’s long distance squad, and Usami, a veteran of the 1968 Mexico, 1972 Munich, 1976 Montreal Olympics.

She was also in the NSSU as part of her preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Tabal clocked two hours, 48 minutes and 26 in ruling the women’s marathon in Kuala Lumpur two years ago and is hoping to pick up the pace to ensure that the gold remains in the country’s hands.

“We’re currently in the thick of our preparations, which means mileage is getting higher, track workouts are getting harder, legs are getting heavier, miles per miles per week, long runs, long intervals, being able to run on tired legs, mind over matter going to our peak period,” Tabal bared in a recent interview.

“I have never been this focused and motivated to train harder. This was my longest SEA Games’ preparation,” the marathoner, who made her SEAG debut four years ago in the 28th edition in Singapore, bared.

Her closest rivals may again be likely be Vietnam’s Hoang Thi Thanh and Thailand’s Natthaya Thanaronthannawat, who topped the event in the Singapore SEAG, who finished behind the Pinay runner a distant second and third place, respectively, in Malaysia.

Tabal disclosed her daily grind in her preparation for the SEA Games, hitting the road as early as 5 a.m. before winding up at around 4 p.m.

“We train twice a day but for a certain period where we need to spend for a 10-day training camp, we train thrice a day,” she said “During this time, we are taught how to overcome fatigue, and discipline for ourselves, discipline for the training program.”

“The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has been supportive of Tabal and the rest of the Philippine team, especially for this SEA Games which we will be hosting,” PSC chairman William Ramirez said. “The recent developments, where we had international victories will be an inspiration to all of us.”

“I have nothing else in mind now than gold. I only have to focus on this event, so I will be giving everything can,” Tabal concluded.