MARY Joy Tabal left for Italy for a two-month training but not before submitting a letter of appeal to the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) to be included in the team bound for the Southeast Asian Games.
The Rio de Janeiro Olympian left on Wednesday to continue her preparations for the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games even after Patafa three days ago dropped her from the national pool for allegedly causing 'disruption and divisiveness' in the track and field association.
Tabal, nevertheless, sent a letter to Patafa president Philip Ella Juico asking for reinstatement.
"Immediately when I arrived, I drafted my letter requesting for reinstatement for SEA Games inclusion. I emailed it yesterday (Tuesday) to Sir Juico. Then, will take it from there. (We) will wait for the response," said Tabal in an online interview.
The main issue Patafa raised is Tabal’s refusal to join the national pool, choosing instead to train on her own through a corporate sponsor and personal coach.
The situation was similar to last year when Tabal qualified for the Rio Olympics despite being a non-member of the national team. Patafa later accredited Tabal so that she can compete in Rio.
This year though, Patafa said it has had enough.
"Ayaw na namin sa 'yo, tapos," said Juico during the press conference where he was surrounded by national athletes and coaches.
Tabal said she has no idea what Patafa rules and regulations she violated as she was busy in her training.
"I am actually very sad of what I heard upon my arrival and I didn't expect it to happen. I didn't know what rules I did not follow or violated. I am just doing my best for the training. I was too focused on the training that will help me become better and ready for the upcoming SEA Games," Tabal said.
Tabal said she has been training outside Manila in her bid to put up an impressive showing in the SEA Games. She recently topped a half-marathon event in Ottawa, Canada.
"All the training outside and the breaking of the national record is part of my plan in preparation for the SEA Games. I was thinking that if my performance in Ottawa will be good, then we can plan to meet with Patafa to show interest to compete with the help of PSC.
"I just wanna make sure that I am ready and fully conditioned before my appeal to them to make sure I have concrete performance evidence to show. For now, I just want to focus and continue my trainings and hoping I get to represent the country in the coming SEA Games. All I want is to run for the country.
Tabal expressed confidence she can hit the gold-medal mark in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.
"For now, sa SEA Games standing for women's marathon, I'm ranked second to a Thailand runner. She has a 2:42 (two hours, 42 minutes) marathon record and mine is 2:43. I am training in Italy for two months now for the continuity of the program and hopefully come August, I will be ready.
"Gold is really my goal," Tabal added.