PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee official Romeo Magat clarified that Mary Joy Tabal will most likely see action in the 2016 Rio Olympics after she surpassed the Olympic standard in a Canada race.
Magat said he expects the POC to endorse Tabal to compete in Rio after shattering the Olympic standard in women’s marathon in a race in Canada over the weekend. Tabal clocked two hours, 43 minutes, and 31 seconds in the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon Canada, surpassing the Olympic standard of 2:45:00.
“Irerekomenda naman ng POC ‘yun dahil qualified siya,” Magat said.
Magat added Tabal doesn’t need an endorsement from the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa), contrary to the statement made by president Philip Ella Juico.
“In fact, ang POC, kapag inendorse ka ng POC, hindi na kailangan ang NSA (national sports association). In fact, the POC can block you (from competing) dahil may authority ang POC,” said Magat.
Magat, however, said there is a possibility that long jumper Marestella Torres-Sunang could lose her spot in Rio as each country is only allowed one male and one female athlete in athletics under the 'country representation' policy.
Torres-Sunang was granted a universality place by the IOC with Eric Cray being previously the lone qualified athlete in Rio.
With Tabal qualifying for the Olympics, Torres-Sunang could be the odd woman out.
"Country representation kasi 'yun that's why when you are entitled to (an additional) one athlete, they say, 'The Philippines has one slot.' They never mentioned the athlete, it's the country," said Magat
POC vice president Joey Romasanta, the chief of mission of the country’s campaign in Rio, is abroad and is not available for comment as of this writing.