Rio Olympian urges netizens to post good news on SEAG

CEBU CITY – A Rio Olympic veteran marathoner who will be competing at the South East Asian Games (SEAG) has appealed to netizens to help spark “good news” about the inter-regional sports event in the country.

Mary Joy Tabal, a Cebuana athlete, who is gunning for her second straight SEA Games women’s marathon crown next month, posted a call to action message on her social media account calling on Filipinos to support the sports event.

She said negative posts about the shortcomings in the preparation as well as the treatment of arriving athletes should be minimized and instead be focused on giving encouraging words.

The marathoner of 2016 Rio Olympics also advised her fellow athletes in the country to refrain from checking on their social media accounts and instead focus their energies on preparing themselves for the sport event they will be competing in.

“My advice, avoid yourself from checking social media because I read a lot and what I saw were more on negativity instead of sharing positive news which will encourage us athletes. I myself am affected, because we are representing the country. We athletes are the ones fighting. Atoa man gud nasud ang nadaot (It’s our country that has been put in the bad light),” Tabal told the Philippine News Agency.

Tabal represented 28 other Cebuano athletes during the ceremonial send-off initiated by Cebu City government Tuesday night inside the dance sport studio at Cebu City Sports Center.

“So I hope everyone will help and whatever the shortcomings of our government and whoever is assigned in the preparation of the SEA Games will be resolved immediately,” she added.

Tabal said she had visited the athletic stadium in New Clark City last week, and was satisfied with the food served in the dining hall which she described as nutritious.

The complaints raised by athletes from other countries will be addressed immediately, she said, while she narrated her experiences being an athlete, who also had some concerns, when she competed in the 2017 Sea Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Tabal won her first marathon gold in the said competition. She also won a silver medal in the women’s marathon competition in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.

City Mayor Edgardo Labella, who attended the send-off ceremony, pledged to help Cebuano athletes competing in the SEA Games in terms of food and accommodation.

“We are preparing… We have already talked with our city administrator and at any time if there is no improvement (of athletes’) situation in food, I myself, am thinking to personally visit them, to personally check on them,” he said.  Fe Marie Dumaboc / PNA –