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Baala and Ceplak triumph

Day 3’s main events were the Men’s 1500m and the Women’s 800m finals

1500m Men Winner Mehdi Baala France Time 3:45.25
In a ‘slow’ run race Mehdi Baala emerged victorious after a photo-finish with Spain’s Reyes Estevez.

The race was run at a pace more suitable to the Queen’s Guards taking the horses for a stroll through the park. With an opening lap of 63:52 followed by a 2nd slower lap 800m was passed in 2:10.49. Off a pace like this, it is often not the best who wins, however the medalists came from the 3 fastest athletes of the year over the distance.

In a frantic sprint for the finish the field went through the bell in 2:53.59 and completed the next 400m between 52 to 53 secs. Estevez was in front and Baala edged past him, however the Spaniard dipped at the line and the photo image of 2 linked was presented.

At first they called the result a draw and both athletes accepted the results and began their lap of honour together, the crowd were ecstatic about the result and applauded the athletes as well as the decision. Almost 10 minutes later, ‘the gremlin’ must have stepped in, because they seperated the 2 happy winners and made Baala the ‘only’ happy winner. Rui Silva of Portugal ‘nabbed’ the bronze.

Results : Men’s 1500m Final

Mehdi Baala

Mehdi Baala

1 Mehdi Baala (Fra) 3:45.25
2 Reyes Estevez (Spa) 3:45.25
3 Rui Silva (Por) 3:45.43
4 Fouad Chouki (Fra) 3:45.46
5 Juan C Higuero (Spa) 3:45.81
6 Michael East (Gbr) 3:46.30
7 C Obrist (Ita) 3:46.57
8 Marko Koers (Ned) 3:46.68
9 A Whiteman (Gbr) 3:47.10
10 Lorenzo Perrone (Ita) 3:47.43
11 Jose A Redolat (Spa) 3:48.28
12 John Mayock (Gbr) 3:48.41

800m Women Winner Jolanda Ceplak Slovenia Time 1:57.65
The ‘new’ European Champion over 800m for women, Jolanda Ceplak of Slovenia, did the ‘right thing’ in winning this race. The runner who had earlier this year set the fastest 800m time in 5 years, went to the front from the gun setting a pace which would be true to form.

She shot through the 1st 200m in 27.82 and going into the final 500m she had moved clear of the field, with the other athletes, seemingly, content to battle it out for silver and bronze. Ceplak passed through 400m in 57.61 and had ‘practically’ secured the title, bar a disaster.

She duly went on to finish the race in 1:57.65, thus capturing both the indoor and outdoor titles of the year. Coming into the final 100, Kelly Holmes was passed by Spanish athlete, Mayte Martinez, who produced a stunning finish to take silver in a new Personal best 1:58.86 Holmes staggered in for 3rd, a dejected and forlorn figure, who was to ‘open the can of worms’ regarding Ceplak’s performances.

Results : Women’s 800m Final
1 Jolanda Ceplak SLO 01:57.65Jolanda Ceplak
2 Mayte Martinez ESP 01:58.86
3 Kelly Holmes ENG 01:59.83
4 L Formanova CZE 02:00.23
5 Claudia Gesell GER 02:00.51
6 Nédia Semedo POR 02:00.54
7 Ivonne Teichmann GER 02:00.87
8 Natalya Dedkova BLR 02:04.24

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