Gabriela Szabo – Great Romanian Athlete

© Mediafax

Born on 14th of November 1975 in Bistriţa, Bistriţa-Năsăud county, in a workers family of Hungarian ethnicity (Ioan and Livia Szabo), Gabriela participated at her first scholar athletic cross in 1988. This cross took place in Bistriţa central park where young trainer Zsolt Gyongyossy noticed Gabriela and soon became her personal trainer. 11 years after this meeting, they got married.

Her first major competition was in 1991 where she earned the title at European Championship for juniors, but Szabo’s career started to grow from 1994 when she entered to senior championships. At 19 years old, little Romanian athlete became the youngest indoor world champion inBarcelona (in 3,000 m race).

Gabriela’s best results were recorded since 1998: 1st place at 3,000 m (World Cup), European Champion 3,000 indoor (Valencia) and World Record at 2,000 m indoor. In 1999, she was World Champion at 1,500 and 3,000 m indoor (Maebashi), at 5,000 m indoor (Seville) and broke a new World Record for 5,000 m race.

Receiving honourable titles as: “The Best European Sports Person” and “World Year’s Sportive”, Szabo became Olympic Champion at 5,000 m indoor (Sydney Olympic Games from 2000). A new World Record was broken in 2001, at 3,000 m indoor race, and a new gold medal was gained for her 1,500 m outdoor race, both in Edmonton. In 2002, she recorded a new European Record at 3,000 m outdoor (European Championship), 3,000 m race being her favourite competition.

Due to health problems and severe exhaustion, Gabriela retired from athletics in 2005. At present, she is the Romanian Athletics Federation’s vice-president and represents an active part of Romanian Sports Personalities involved in different programmes and projects for helping talented children to reach better solutions for their sports career.

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