Mary Joy Tabal anxious but thrilled to finally make Olympic debut as she arrives in Rio
Mary Joy Tabal is anxious and thrilled at the same time in her Olympic debut in Rio. Jerome Ascano

RIO DE JANEIRO — Marathoner Mary Joy Tabal has arrived here on Wednesday night (Thursday Manila time) after a long flight from Japan where she had her final training camp for the Olympic Games.

Tabal flew from Narita Airport to Abu Dhabi for 12 hours and departed for Sao Paolo after a five-hour layover. She even joked about how she nearly missed her connecting flight to Rio due to the long lines at immigration.

“Para akong tumakbo ng 5k,” said Tabal, who fortunately got on the plane because her flight was delayed.

“Pinawisan talaga ako. Kaya nung biglang delayed, relaxed na lang,” she added.

Tabal qualified for the Olympics after clocking two hours, 43 minutes, and 31 seconds in a meet in Canada, surpassing the standard of 2:45:00.

After her training in Japan, Tabal said competing in the Olympics hasn’t sunk in yet until she was at the Abu Dhabi airport where she spotted several athletes who are also bound for Brazil.

“Papunta pa lang ako, parang hindi ko pa masyadong nafe-feel. Pagdating ko ng Abu Dhabi, marami nang atleta, dun ko na-feel na eto na talaga ‘yung Olympics,” said Tabal.

Tabal admitted she feels the pressure of being in the Olympics as she hopes to get herself focused and calm ahead of the competition.

“’Yung feeling na kinakabahan, nangingibabaw ‘yung kaba kasi maraming nag-eexpect sa akin,” said Tabal.

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