Iraqi 293rd In California Marathon

SACRAMENTO, California, Dec 7 (AFP) - MichaelBartoszak, of Poland, beat out 5,000 other competitorsto win the 50,000 dollar California InternationalMarathon here on Sunday.
The 31-year-old Bartoszak finished almost four minutesahead of Kenyan Jonah Rono in a time of 2hrs 16.21secs.Rono ran a 2:20.28 while American Erik Kean was third in2:20.38.
The top female finisher was Russia’s Tatiana Titovawho completed the 26-mile course in 2:33.31.
Iraqi athlete Ali Al-Bahadly finished in 293rd placewith a time of 3:18.55.
Al-Bahadly is expected to represent Iraq at theOlympics next year in Athens.
This year’s Sacramento race attracted runners from 16countries and serves as a qualifying event for theBoston Marathon and the 2004 Olympics.
People were cheering for me and chanting my name,''said Al-Bahadly. I am appreciative to have had thechance to compete in California.’’
Race organizers claim Al-Bahadly is the first Iraqirunner to compete internationally since the Americanssoldiers invaded Iraq eight months ago.