I want the 800m to be more popular, says Jolanda Ceplak  

22 August 2002

joli67_400.jpg (23878 bytes)I was very pleased with my performance in Munich and just gave myself one day after that to do promotion appearances for my sponsor in Slovenia. 

I went straight back to training on Saturday before the Golden League meeting in Zurich. I really tried to be at my best in the meeting last Friday but I have to say that Maria Mutola once again ran a fantastic tactical race. But every time I compete against her I learn something new, I have started to study her running. From Zurich I went to Linz where the press announced we would make an attempt at the 1000m world record. Both Maria and myself told everybody that it would be impossible to watch each other and the clock. It ended in a tactical race again and this time I was surprised when I realized that the pace maker was not only trying to finish the race but also win it. I had to close the gap but ended up caught in the end. 

I took the decision not to compete in Brussels so Mutola has a chance to challenge the world record at the Van Damme alone and in return she agreed that I will have a chance somewhere else where she will not compete. I like that because we are both focusing in making our event more popular and for this you have to communicate amongst the athletes. I hope she will be successful in Brussels and wish her all the best. 

After the meet I went straight home to Velenje and gave myself some rest, played with my dog Aspi, went to the hair dresser etc. Just regular stuff women do in their spare time. Athletes don't have much of that in the summer so youd better enjoy every minute at home. I am running at the Grand Prix in London on Friday again with Maria Mutola in the race. I will not stop trying to win, let us see which tactic she will run this time. I will keep you updated.

Yolanda Ceplak


Ceplak solos her way


There were certainly no need for a photo-finish in the women's 800m as Slovenia's Yolanda Ceplak covered the distance on her own. 

Basically in the lead from the start, after 400m runner, which she covered in 57.61, the European indoor record holder continued her own race to cross the finish in 1:57.65, more than a second ahead of the runner-up, Spain's Mayte Martinez and two seconds clear of Great-Britain's Kelly Holmes.


I will decide whether to double when I get to Munich


July started for me with a 1500m race in Zagreb, which was almost comical for the pace making. We started perfectly with a 62 -second lap but then went through the second 400m in 70 seconds. I then had to decide if winning was more important than trying to break the National Record. I chose to go for the record and was beaten.

It was the same in Stockholm at the DN Galan. I made a tactical mistake, but so did Maria Mutola, and Nicole Teter who ran a very smart race beat us both.

When I saw the results from the Herculis Golden League meeting, it crossed my mind that I may have made the wrong decision not to run there. But there again, in Hechtel I ran almost a perfect race. I was very happy with 1:55.19 even though I was not concentrated enough to run hard all the way to the finish.

In between my races I did some stuff for magazines like Cosmopolitan (see picture), and some pictures for my sponsor SPAR for their campaign in the supermarkets in Slovenia, where I endorse a product called "Natur pur". I also did a TV spot and radio ads, so that kept me busy. We also had some athletes from our group training in my hometown. Colin Jackson and some other British athletes came to Velenje and trained there before the Commonwealth Games. Having athletes of his calibre coming to train means a lot for the city.

I train twice almost every day, and get the usual rest, physio and massages. I do everything necessary to keep my legs in order. Im really sacrificing a lot to keep in shape and be ready for Munich, which is so important to me. I will decide when I arrive whether to double at 800m and 1500m. It basically depends on how many rounds we will have in the 800m. I still have some important races after Munich and do not want to be too tired.

All in all, I should be OK for the European Championships but I know it is not so easy to win there. Anything can happen and I will really have to concentrate in every round. 

I will update my diary when I get to Munich on 4 August. I will stay at the Hospitality Centre of my shoe company (thanks to their European representative Karl Stith). It is in a very nice area, right near the English Garden, where I can go running. 

Jolanda Ceplak


Ceplak to face tough race in Sheffield


After winning again in Seville, World indoor record holder Jolanda Ceplak prepares for what she reckons will be the toughest 800m race in Sheffield.

I went to the European Cup in Seville with no high expectations but then it turned out to be a race I was very pleased with. Even though the first lap was over 60 seconds again I managed to run a 58-second on top of that and won in 1:58.55. It was incredibly hot, around 38 degrees and everybody was suffering.

Today I am going to Sheffield where I am facing the strongest 800m race of the year so far. Maria Mutola will be racing and so will Kelly Holmes who is in the same Management Group. She is in very good shape this year again so it will be very interesting to see how she runs at home.

Mutola just ran 52.04 in Manchester in a 400m and since there is no pacemaker in Sheffield; tactics will be an important factor in the race. We all know that Mutola is a master in that. I think it will take a time under 1:57 to win this race.

I did not do much this week. I sometimes had two training sessions per day and used the rest of my time to rest and watch TV. I saw the semifinals of the Football World Cup. It looks like Brasil is going to win. It is incredible that Germany made it to the final with wins over Saudi Arabia, Cameron, Paraguay, USA and South Korea, plus a 1:1 against Ireland. Unfortunately I won't be able to watch the final since I will be warming up for the race in Sheffield.

After Sheffield I will go back home and then compete in Zagreb in a 1500m. This will be an important race for me. Depending on it, I will decide if I am going to run both events, 800m and 1500m, in Munich at the European Championships in August.



My new popularity

joli_wagner01_200.jpg (4984 bytes)I didnt come to the Athens Grand Prix to run 2:00 for 800m, but there were many reasons why the race was so slow. First of all, a terrible wind swirled around the stadium and felt like a permanent head wind. Then, the Athens officials did not start the 800m race in lanes so me and the pacemaker had to move into lane 4 after the start to get around the field. We had requested a pace of 56.5 for 400m and the pacemaker went through in 60.0 which was already 3.5 seconds too slow. There was not one clock in the infield so we could not see our 200m splits either. After 400m I looked up the big board and realized that I would never run a good time so I just concentrated on winning. The only thing I was happy about was the gap between me and the other girls. Other than that, it wasnt a good race but I guess you cannot always run fast times. There are too many things beyond your control. 

I just think that we should not have pacemakers any more. My next races will be without them: at my home meeting in Velenje on Friday, at the Spar-European Cup on June 22 and then the Grand Prix II in Sheffield on June 30, which is almost like a World Championships final. Only Graf is missing from the field. 

Athens is a crazy city but as you know, we athletes usually only see the hotel, the stadium and the airport. You cannot go out sightseeing. After all, we are not there as tourists. Walking around in the heat would just make our legs tired. There is no time for celebrations either, as the season is long and we need our rest. So I just had dinner at the official banquet and went straight to bed.

Jolanda Ceplak