Gold medalist Tabal turns cheerleader for Team PH in SEA Games
KUALA LUMPUR — After winning the gold medal in the women’s marathon event of the 29th Southeast Asian Games, Mary Joy Tabal will be staying in this bustling Malaysian capital to play a new role – cheerleader.
Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA) president Philip Ella Juico said the petite Cebuana runner agreed to stay behind to cheer her teammates, who will see action in various athletics events starting Tuesday.
Juico, the former Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman, said agreeing to support and bond with her teammates in this very crucial period is such a good gesture, especially since she’s training in Cebu and abroad most of the time.
The PSC pays for the athletes’ accommodation two days before and one day after the SEA Games, Asian Games and other major international tournaments.
But in Tabal’s case, the federation agreed to shoulder her accommodation for the rest of the week so that she can spend some quality time with foreign-based and Manila-based teammates.
“It’s good that she agreed to stay here. At least she can get to cheer her teammates and spend some quality time with them,” said Juico, who is looking to surpass their five gold-medal production two years ago in Singapore.
On Sunday, Tabal attended her first major event since winning the marathon, attending the individual recurve competition at the Synthetic Turf Field in the KL Sports City.
The gold medalist watched as 15-year-old Nicole Tagle won the silver medal in the women’s recurve.
“Siya kamay, ako paa,” Tabal said after Tagle advanced to the final.
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