CAPAS, Tarlac, Philippines – The Women’s marathon title stays in the Philippines, but it is not Mary Joy Tabal who will claim as the 30th Southeast Asian Games Marathon Queen.
The crown is now with Christine Hallasgo a 27-year old single mother from Malaybalay City, Bukidnon who finished the race in two hours, 56 minutes and 56 seconds to beat the much-favored Cebuana veteran runner.
“I am happy for her (Hallasgo) and to all the girls. That was a very tough and closely fought race. It was only until the final 10 kilometers that some runners are pulling away.
All I wanted was to finish the race when I saw that I’m on the fourth place. I did not know what happened because the Indonesian lady was ahead of us and there was the Vietnam girl also ahead of us. In the last two kilometers I was running to (just) finish the race safely.
And on the final 200-meters I was totally gone, nag-blackout na ko. I did not even know that I finished the race or that I finished second,” Tabal told reporters after the awarding ceremony.
For the most part of the race, Tabal was leading the field of eight runners. She had set the pace for the entire 30kilometers. However, the Vietnam and Indonesian runners started to make their moves going to the last loop of the five-loop-eight kilometer per loop race, which took Tabal by surprise.
“I was surprised by their sudden change of pace. So surprised that I lagged behind up to the fourth place. I was trailing about 30 minutes behind the Indonesian. First to suffer cramps was the Vietnam lady, so it was the Indonesia, Christine and me for the last two kilometers,” Tabal continued.
However, lady luck smiled on the Pinay runners when Odekta Elvina Naibaho of Indonesia collapsed on her way back to the stadium for the finish. In fact, Naibaho did not finish the race as she was taken directly to the Medical room for treatment.
Tabal came in a minute and 53 seconds later (2:58:49), running like a drunken person before collapsing three steps after the finish line.
According to Tabal’s coach John Philip Duenas, Tabal’s oxygen and sugar level dropped while her blood pressure shoots up, a sign of dehydration and hypothermia.
However, after an hour of treatment, Tabal was able to join Hallasgo and third placer Thi Hong Le Pham of Vietnam, who was 5:56 behind the winner, at the awarding rites.
Hallasgo and Pham were assisted by their coaches to the podium because of body and leg cramps while Tabal relived their ordeals to the reporters.
“If only the race was started earlier it would be fun to watch and maybe the results would be different. All the girls are very strong. This is the strongest SEA Games that I have competed,” added Tabal, who had won the silver medal in the 2015 Singapore SEA Games and the gold medal in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur event.
Because of exhaustion and dehydration, Xiuying Hu of Singapore also failed to finish the race.
Aside from the Marathon gold, the Philippines added eight more gold medals to keep a sizable lead over the first of 11-countries.
Fil-Japanese of Cebuano decent Kiyomi Watanabe again lorded it over the competition to win her fourth SEA Games gold medal in Women’s Judo competition. After winning a bronze medal in Jakarta in 2011 in the heavier 70kgs weight category, Watanabe scaled down to 63kgs to dominate the field since she was only 15-years old. Watanabe defeated
Also winning the gold medal for the Philippines was another Fil-Jap Judoka Mariya Takahashi who bounced back from a first-round defeat to win the gold medal after scoring an Ippon over Surattana Thongsri of Thailand
The other gold medal winners for the Philippines on the Dec. 6 schedule were Bianca Isabel Pagdanganan who won the Individual Event in Women’s Golf, the team of Jemyca Aribado, Reymark Begornia, Robert Andrew Garcia and William David topped of the Mixed Squash Team, Michale Ver Anton Comaling winning the Modern Pentathlon Beach Triathle Individual for Mens, Menchi Sandi won the Obstacle Course Individual 5K x20 Obstacle for Women and Mervin Guarte winning the Men’s Side of the same Obstacle Course category.
Their victories and nine other silver medallists and 15other bronze medal winners just kept the Philippines ahead by 31 gold medals over Indonesia which took over the second place from Vietnam with 40-41-47 collection. Vietnam slipped to third place with 38-41-52 medal counts. Singapore in fourth place with 32-22-36.
On Dec. 7, Cebuana Rhythmic Gymnast Reggie Daniella Dela Pisa will try to win her first gold medal in SEA Games as she vies in the Hoop, Ball, Clubs and Rope Finals after she qualified in the qualifying event on Dec. 6.
The 16-year old gymnast from Bright Academy will also vie for the Individual All-Around title in today’s gymnastics events. RCM