THE Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) has slammed the door on Rio Olympian Mary Joy Tabal.
“We don’t want you anymore. You are destroying the community. We have policies that should be followed by everyone. We don’t want you to influence others,” Patafa President Philip Ella Juico stressed as he met athletes and coaches who are bound for the Malaysia 29th Southeast Asian Games on Monday at the PhilSports in Pasig City.
Juico said Tabal’s camp again failed to comply with the federation’s policies for athletes to be included in the national team.
Tabal resigned from the national team late in 2015 to train on her own with the support of Cebu-based Motor Ace Philippines.
But the four-time Milo Marathon Queen Tabal was reinstated after she qualified for the Rio Olympics where she finished 124th overall.
“The Patafa will not engage in this kind of gutter-level tricks,” Juico said. “However, the federation will not hesitate to defend itself, its athletes, coaches and officials.”
Philippine Sports Commission Commissioner Ramon Fernandez, who is based in Cebu, and Tabal’s benefactor, Jonel Borromeo, have strongly campaigned for her inclusion in the national team.
The 27-year-old athlete recently broke the nine-year national record in the half-marathon after topping the women’s field in the ScotiaBank Ottawa Half Marathon late last month.
Tabal could be one of the most successful runners available but Juico said “that does’t make her a good athlete.”
“Beyond winning, a selected athlete must have the capacity and dedication to set a worthy example to all other Filipino athletes and all Filipinos and be a unifying, not divisive and disruptive, factor in sports community,” Juico said.
“An athlete should have a word of honor, fidelity to his country and respect for everyone,” he added.