Kagwe Wins Close Finish in New York Marathon

From Staff and Wire Reports

With only yards remaining in the New York Marathon on Sunday, one thing was certain--a Kenyan would win.

John Kagwe ran away from countryman Joseph Chebet to win the marathon by three seconds, the second-closest finish in the race’s 29-year history.

“Last year, I felt it was my race to win,” said Kagwe, who repeated his 1997 NYC Marathon victory over Chebet. “This year I was not that sure.”

Kagwe, Chebet and Tanzania’s Zebedayo Bayo turned into Central Park almost even, but Bayo couldn’t keep pace and fell behind. “I decided to push the pace, especially in the last 400 meters,” said Kagwe, who won in 2 hours 8 minutes 45 seconds. “I decided to go and see if Chebet would stay with me.”


Chebet finished three seconds back, nearly as close as German Rivera’s two-second margin of victory over Mexican countryman Benjamin Paredes in 1994.

Bayo was third at 2:08:51 in the race that drew two million spectators. The leading American man was Alfredo Vigueras of Woodland, Calif., who was 18th at 2:16:14.

Franca Fiacconi became the first Italian to win the women’s division of the race. She outdueled world record-holder and two-time New York champion Tegla Loroupe of Kenya over the closing miles.

Fiacconi, third last year and second in 1996, was timed in 2:25:17. Adriana Fernandez of Mexico also passed the ailing Loroupe and finished second, at 2:26:33. Loroupe, bothered by stomach cramps, wound up third at 2:30:26.

Kagwe and Fiacconi each collected $50,000.


The New York Yankees and Darryl Strawberry agreed that the team would have until Nov. 11 to decide whether to exercise a $2.5-million option on his contract for 1999.

The Yankees’ original deadline to exercise the option on Strawberry, who is recovering from colon cancer surgery, had been Sunday at midnight. If the Yankees decline the option, they must pay Strawberry a $100,000 buyout.


Meanwhile, General Manager Brian Cashman met Saturday with David Cone and his agent, Steve Fehr, in Tampa. Fla., about signing a new deal with the pitcher. Cone, who went 20-7 with a 3.55 earned-run average this season, has until Wednesday to decide whether he will exercise his $5.5-million option or become a free agent.

Congressman Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) said he has filed a bill allowing Cuban baseball players to play in the United States without defecting.

Serrano said his measure would allow the Immigration and Naturalization Service to grant work visas similar to those given to players from other countries. The visas would expire annually after the World Series.

Serrano said he believes current U.S. law, which permits only defectors to work in the United States, is unfair.


On Friday, Cuba’s government news agency quoted Cuban sports minister Humberto Rodriguez as saying the government would consider allowing players to play in the major leagues “as long as it respects the principles of Cuban socialist sports.”

College Basketball

Louisville Coach Denny Crum, 61, remained hospitalized a day after he collapsed while preparing to board a flight.

“He’s still very stable and resting well,” said Kathy Keadle, a spokeswoman at Jewish Hospital at Louisville, Ky.


Doctors said the collapse, which mimics the symptoms of a stroke, could have been caused by Crum’s allergy or asthma medications.

Behind 18 points by guard Greg Minor, Cal State Northridge defeated the California Midwest All-Stars, 84-78, in an exhibition at Northridge. Center Brian Heinle had 14 points and forward Andre Larry 10 for the Matadors.


Elmer “Moose” Vasko, a member of the Chicago Blackhawks’ last Stanley Cup championship team, died of cancer Friday at Loyola University Medical Center at Chicago. He was 62.


At 6 feet 3 and 220 pounds, the defenseman was one of the largest players of his time. He played for Chicago from 1956-66, including the ’62 Stanley Cup champion.

Stanislav Zhuk, a renowned and controversial Russian figure-skating coach whose students included many of his country’s best-known skaters, died of undisclosed causes. He was 63.

A highly successful skater, Zhuk was best known for teaching pairs. Although his success was evident, his methods were not universally admired, and he left a legacy of bitterness among some of his skaters. ITAR-Tass news agency did not report where he died.



The U.S. and Brazilian men’s teams play tonight at 7 at Pepperdine University in a warmup for the world championships at Japan later this month. They also play Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Cal State San Bernardino.