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Jolanda Čeplak - new indoors world record holder and
European Champion in Vienna

Click on the above pic to see her personal Site

March, 03. 2002

Ceplak defeats Graf and smashes World Record – High Five for Feofanova
Sean Wallace-Jones for the IAAF

3 March 2002 – Vienna, Austria – It was time for the race that most of the Austrian population had been waiting for, but few in the packed Ferry Dusika Hallenstadion here in Vienna would have predicted the outcome. Austria’s darling Stephanie Graf was lining up against 5 athletes in the final of the women’s 800 metres, but this was really a two women race, with only Jolanda Ceplak from Slovenia able to challenge the Austrian powerhouse.

And that it just what Ceplak did – and more.

Going straight into the lead at the gun, Ceplak led Graf around the ceplak02_200.jpg (9237 bytes) track until the two leaders came into the back straight, when Graf started to move out, gradually pushing past the Slovenian and leading into the final bend, but as the two cam into the home straight with Graf narrowly in the lead, the unexpected happened. Ceplak started to come back and powering towards the line edged ahead of Graf to beat the Austrian for the line and set a new world record of 1 minute 55.82 seconds, demolishing Christine Wachtel’s (GDR) record of 1:56.40 set in this very stadium on 13 February 1988.

Graf had to settle for silver and a new national record for Austria of 1:55.85.

A delighted Ceplak said afterwards: “I gave everything I had, as I understood that I was getting close to the world record and that was my main goal. I was really shaking because the crowd was cheering for Graf.

“A fast race was convenient for both of us, so I went for it telling myself ‘if I die, I die.’ All the hard work I have done this winter finally paid off.”

Graf was gracious in defeat: “It was a perfect race, I took the lead 100 metres before the finish, but Jolanda was physically better today.

“We made a big show for the fans, both under the world record. Now this is my third silver  - the consequence is: I have to change my manager.” (Both Ceplak and Graf are managed by Robert Wagner).

The Ceplak effect played over into the men’s 800 metres, as the man the commentator had described as “Switzerland’s Stephanie Graf” , Andre Bucher lived up to the nickname today, suffering a surprise defeat in the final metres at the hands of Polish runner Pawel Czapiewski.

Slovenia's Jolanda Ceplak, 25, set a new World record of 1:55.82 minutes to win the 800 metres at the European Indoor Championships in Vienna. A few minutes later, Russia's Svetlana Feofanova broke her own pole vaul world record as expected.

Ceplak's surprise was sweeter when the speaker announced she had broken the world mark set here in Vienna back in 1988. Graf said in Stockholm one year ago that she intended to break the world indoor record. She did with a time of 1:55.85 minute but she placed second once again for less than a second.
In Vienna, the party was already prepared, the champagne was on ice, the fireworks ready to go off. Austria's Stéphanie Graf was set to win the European Indoor title in the 800 metres. This winter, not only did Graf defeat the World and Olympic champion, Mozambique's Maria Mutola, but she also came close to breaking the world record held by the Eastern German Christine Wachtel since 1988.







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