Joyciline Jepkosgei arrived in New York with a modest goal for her first marathon ever.
"My focus was to finish the race," she said, a gold medal hanging around her neck.
Not bad for a novice.
Jepkosgei upset four-time champion Mary Keitany to win the New York City Marathon on Sunday with a historic debut seven seconds off the course record.
Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya won the men's event for the second time in three years. He pounced when defending champion Lelisa Desisa dropped out after seven miles following a grueling victory at the sweltering world championships last month.
After pulling away from Kenyan countrymate Keitany with about three miles left, Jepkosgei crossed the finish in Central Park in 2 hours, 22 minutes and 38 seconds, the second-best run in course history.
"I didn't actually know that I can win," she said. "But I was trying my best to do it and to make it and to finish strong."
The 25-year-old Jepkosgei holds the world record in the half-marathon but had never run a 26.2-mile race before. She looked pained climbing the final hill but strode confidently over the finish line.
It was too much for Keitany, a 37-year-old who collapsed after finishing 53 seconds later. She had won four of the previous five NYC Marathons.
"Sometimes a race is a race," Keitany said. "Anything can happen."
Jepkosgei is the youngest New York winner since 25-year-old Margaret Okayo in 2001. She also won the New York City Half-Marathon in March and is the first runner to win both events.
Kamworor made it a Kenyan sweep moments later with a final time of 2:08:13 on the course that traverses through the city's five boroughs.
He kicked away from countryman Albert Korir in the 24th mile. Korir finished second, and Ethiopian non-elite runner Girma Bekele Gebre was third.
Desisa, who is from Ethiopia, was in 17th place at the seven-mile mark before leaving with pain in one of his hamstrings. He was attempting to defend his title 29 days after winning worlds in Doha, Qatar, in boiling conditions he described this week as "dangerous." With a temperature of 84 degrees F (29 degrees C) for the midnight start, 18 of 73 men didn't finish that race.
Sunday's run started at an ideal 45 degrees F (7 degrees C).
The 26-year-old Kamworor finished third last year after winning in 2017. He was greeted at the finish line by mentor and training partner Eliud Kipchoge, who completed the first sub-2 hour marathon last month — a feat accomplished under conditions so tightly controlled it didn't qualify for the record books.
"I didn't want to disappoint him," Kamworor said. "That gave me a lot of motivation. He inspired me to win that race."
Kamworor, also the world record holder in the half-marathon, is the 10th multi-time winner in New York.
He was followed closely by Gebre, a former New York resident who returned to Ethiopia recently to train at altitude. He shaved about five minutes off his personal best to finish in 2:08:38.
The 26-year-old Gebre has no sponsor and no agent. He's hoping this breakthrough will change that.
"I would like someone to arrange some races for me," he said through a translator.
American Desiree Linden set the pace for the women early and was the top U.S. finisher at sixth. The 2018 Boston Marathon winner hasn't decided whether she will go to the Olympic team trials in Atlanta on Feb. 29.
The 36-year-old wants to gauge her recovery before deciding whether to pursue a third Olympics.
"Right now's not the time, just based on how my calves and my feet feel," Linden said jokingly.
Kellyn Taylor, an American putting her firefighting career on hold to pursue the Olympics, finished seventh.
Sara Hall, another U.S. Olympic hopeful who has taken on an unusually heavy race schedule, dropped out in mile 18 after running the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 29.
Jared Ward was the top American finisher among the men at sixth place. He hoped the hilly New York terrain would prepare him for the rolling course in Atlanta.
"I hope that does set me up well," he said. "I think I have some confidence."
American 42-year-old Abdi Abdirahman bested his own over-40 record by finishing in 2:11:34. Australia's Sinead Diver posted the second-fasted women's time by an over-40 runner. The 42-year-old finished fifth overall in 2:26:23.
Manuela Schär of Switzerland won her third straight women's wheelchair title, giving her eight consecutive marathon major victories. After rolling ahead of the record pace for much of the race, Schär crossed the finish about a minute off the mark at 1:44:20.
Daniel Romanchuk of the United States repeated as men's wheelchair champion in another tight finish over Switzerland's Marcel Hug. Romanchuk held off Hug by one second for the second straight year, crossing the finish line 1:37:24 England's David Weir and American Aaron Pike were also within 10 seconds.
Last year, Romanchuk became the first American and youngest competitor to win the men's division as a 20-year-old. He followed with victories this year at the Boston and London marathons. Hug took the New York title in 2016 and 2017.
Organizers were expecting around 52,000 runners to complete the marathon a year after a world record 52,813 crossed the finish.
Lewis Hamilton could have settled in for a nice Sunday drive to win the Formula One championship.
There was no chance he was going to do that. Not with history at his fingertips.
Hamilton wrapped up his sixth career F1 championship with a second-place finish at the U.S. Grand Prix, a race he led late until surrendering the position to Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in the final laps.
The 34-year-old British driver moved with one of the record seven titles won by Germany's Michael Schumacher. Hamilton has won the last three championships and locked this one up with two races left.
"Still we rise!" Hamilton shouted to his team over the car radio after the checkered flag.
Once he parked, Hamilton stood on his car and grabbed his head in both hands, then draped himself in a Union Jack flag. Minutes later, rival Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, whose run of four straight titles was ended by Hamilton in 2014, embraced him with a handshake and a hug.
The sixth championship moves Hamilton past Argentina's Juan Manuel Fangio, the "Godfather" of F1 drivers who won five titles in the 1950s.
"It's an honor to be up here with these (past) greats," Hamilton said.
Hamilton has been a dominant force at the Circuit of the Americas, with five wins here since it opened in 2012, but a poor qualifying left him starting from the third row in fifth. He said after qualifying he'd need a "miracle" to win, then tried to make it happen.
Hamilton avoided trouble at the start as the cars bolted uphill into the blind left turn that can turn the field into a demolition derby. He stayed clear of the dangerous traffic and gave Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Ferrari's Leclerc plenty of room to avoid a collision.
Hamilton turned the race on its head with a bolt to third on the first lap when he passed the Ferraris of Vettel and Charles Leclerc. That made the championship all but inevitable, as a finish as low as eighth would clinch it.
Hamilton wasn't going to settle for that.
He secured the 2015 title on the same track when he fought off Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the final laps to get the victory. He was somewhat disappointed in in 2017 and 2018 when he clinched those titles in Mexico City without reaching the podium either time.
That made a podium Sunday a must.
"My dad taught me when I was like 6 or 7 years old to never give up. That's our family motto," Hamilton said. "That's all was thinking all day, 'How could I win this race?'"
Bottas was the only driver still mathematically in the hunt for the title, but just barely. Bottas had to win and have Hamilton fade to his worst finish of the year in order to extend the championship to the Brazilian Grand Prix in two weeks.
Bottas started from pole and was off and running with a good start. Hamilton grabbed the lead when Bottas pitted for tires and he wouldn't let it go without a fight.
Hamilton defended against a Bottas pass attempt with six laps remaining before finally surrendering the spot on the next lap.
"Winning it was the only thing I could do to try to maintain the title hopes," Bottas said. "I did my part but Lewis was still strong, as he always is."
Verstappen was looking to pass Hamilton on the final lap, but a yellow flag caused by Haas driver Kevin Magnussen ended the threat and gave Mercedes the 1-2 finish.
The Circuit of the Americas had a special parking spot next to the podium reserved for the championship car.
There was only one car that could be. It was a silver Mercedes No. 44.
"I remember watching this sport when I was younger," Hamilton said. "It's beyond surreal to think that this journey, that my life journey has brought me to this point."
Md Jahir Rayhan of Bangladesh Navy clinched gold for Bangladesh in the boys’ 400-metre run with a timing of 47.34 seconds in the ongoing 35th Indian National Junior (U-20) Athletics Championships’2019 at Acharya Nagarjuna University in Andhra Pradesh of India on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Umme Hafsa Rumki of Bangladesh Jail finished 7th in the girls’ high jumping 1.65-metre and Saiful Islam Khan of Navy finished 7th in the boys’ 100-metre run with a timing of 11.16 seconds.
Earlier, five Bangladeshi athletes left the capital for India on Thursday to take part in the Indian National Junior (U-20) Athletics Championships as a part of their preparation for the upcoming South Asian Games in Nepal.
The five were: Mahfuzur Rahman, Zahir Raihan, Saiful Islam Khan, Rakibul Islam of Bangladesh Navy, and Umme Hafsa Rumki of Bangladesh Jail (Prison Directorate).
Three years into his second stint living in Japan, Peter Musgrave takes his young son to a park in central Tokyo and sees people throwing around a rugby ball.
"It's chalk and cheese to when I first lived here," the 40-year-old Musgrave says.
Back in those days, from 2006-12, the bank worker from England barely noticed rugby in the Japanese capital unless he "went out to a foreigner bar to watch a game." The Brave Blossoms, as Japan's national team is affectionately called, were conceding nearly 100 points in games against the sport's major powers.
The thought of an audience of around 55 million — representing close to half the population — watching on TV as Japan won a rugby match with breathtaking skill to power into the quarterfinals at a home Rugby World Cup would have been consigned to the realms of fantasy.
Yet that's what happened in this 2019 global showpiece, the first Rugby World Cup to be held in Asia. It's been an absolute blast, an eye-opener not just for the estimated half-million traveling fans from 19 other competing countries but also for the Japanese people who have been such courteous and polite hosts.
There was the scene of 15,000 people turning up to watch Wales' first practice session of the tournament. Some arrived three hours before practice, lining up for more than a kilometer outside Kitakyushu Stadium.
How about Oita, the land of hot springs in the most southwestern of Japan's main islands and a place that could never be described as a rugby hotbed, welcoming fans of France, England, Wales and Australia for one memorable quarterfinal weekend? Locals, merely passing by pubs and bars, joined in the revelry, some being lifted up like they were second-row forwards in a lineout.
From Fukuroi to Fukuoka, from Kamaishi to Kumamoto, lasting memories have been made in this 6½-week tournament that has been 10 years in the planning but will draw to a close Saturday when England plays South Africa in the final.
So when the World Cup circus leaves town, what will be left behind? How does Japan sustain the rugby fever?
"I have a little worry, yes," former Japan rugby captain Toshiaki Hirose told The Associated Press. "Four years ago, we beat South Africa in the World Cup and a lot of Japanese people watched it. Now, I think Japanese people understand rugby as well, and respect the passion.
"I think there is an environment where kids want to start playing rugby but we should have this environment more, not just in the cities but also in the countryside."
Rugby lags behind baseball, soccer and others in the list of the most popular sports here. There are 92,000 registered rugby players — a 10th of the number in soccer — and there is a participation rate among teenagers of 1.5%, according to the most recent white paper on sport in Japan . Rugby tied ninth among the most popular spectator sports in Japan and didn't feature in the top 10 of most popular sports watched on TV.
The country has a 16-team domestic league, but only five Top League games in the entirety of last season attracted a crowd of more than 5,000 spectators.
Japan has had a team, the Tokyo-based Sunwolves, playing in the leading southern-hemisphere provincial competition — Super Rugby — since 2015 against rivals from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina. But they are about to be disbanded, leading to much uncertainty about their future.
Meanwhile, at grassroots level, Hirose says most kids can only choose one sport in which to specialize at school — and invariably that's baseball or soccer. There is also a shortage of age-group facilities, top-class coaches and even grass fields, says Musgrave.
"You have to be careful," says Andrew Fielder, a 41-year-old IT worker who also an expat in Tokyo. "Children need to have quality instructors otherwise they could hurt themselves. I would be worried. You'd want to be sure they have the right level of instruction, certification."
Musgrave and his 6-year-old son, Hugo, went along last week with Fielder and his 5-year-old son, Theon, to a Rugby Introduction Day staged by the Japan Rugby Football Union and World Cup sponsor Land Rover to encourage a younger generation to play the game in the wake of Japan's unprecedented run to the quarterfinals.
Among the superstar ex-players running the event were England World Cup winners Jonny Wilkinson and Lawrence Dallaglio, who have seen first-hand the new support for the Brave Blossoms.
"It was only a couple of World Cups ago that they were losing by large scores," Dallaglio said, likely recalling the 83-7 loss to New Zealand in 2011. "What they've done in the last eight years is phenomenal, so if they can continue that development ... the next generation hopefully will have been inspired by their heroes that they've witnessed out on the field."
Japan, a so-called Tier Two rugby nation, rarely gets to play the likes of the All Blacks or England outside of World Cups. Wilkinson says it is "imperative" that changes, with Dallaglio suggesting they could even enter the major southern or northern hemisphere international competitions.
"They need to continue to introduce them to quality opposition," Wilkinson said in a message to rugby's powerbrokers.
The powerbrokers are listening. World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont told a news conference in the wake of South Africa's 32-12 win over England in the final that the sport's international governing body was working to get emerging teams more regular access and meaningful matches. He said negotiations were underway for Japan to play England and Ireland within 12 months.
And he praised local organizers and fans, saying "Japan 2019 will be remembered as probably the greatest Rugby World Cup."
"We've broken records at every level: attendances, fan zones, broadcast, digital and social media," he said. "The success of this tournament has been personified by the warmth and passion of the Japanese people."
Other issues facing Japan is the possibility of its head coach, New Zealander Jamie Joseph, leaving and stalwart players like captain Michael Leitch having potentially played in their last World Cup. A new generation of players needs to come through, without that carrot of a World Cup on home soil.
Hirose doesn't want the tournament's success to be wasted. He has been around Japan, teaching kids the national anthems of the competing teams. He has seen the Japanese people take the Brave Blossoms to their hearts — "they like their courage and discipline" — and enjoy mixing with foreigners before and after games, "drinking, chatting, singing."
They've witnessed visiting fans paint the Japanese flag — the "Hinomaru" — on their faces, and wear bandanas decked with the red-and-white colors of Japan.
World Rugby says its legacy programs have introduced 1.8 million people in Asia to the sport.
"One of the reasons we came to Asia," Beaumont says, "was to actually leave a legacy. What we have to do is carry on working so when you come back in two years' time, the people are talking about it."
Defending champion Nelly Korda birdied the first hole of a three-way playoff on Sunday to win the LPGA Swinging Skirts.
Korda and Minjee Lee both birdied the final hole of regulation to finish at 18-under 270 and force a playoff with Caroline Masson, who shot a 68.
Korda, who started the final round with a three-stroke lead over Lee (69), looked set to win in regulation after a birdie on the par-5 No. 12. But she bogeyed three of her final five holes to fall one stroke back of Masson before a birdie on 18 gave her even-par 72.
Masson took the lead after back-to-back birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 but closed with par on the final two holes.
In the playoff on the par-5 18th, Korda sank her birdie putt while Masson and Lee made par.
Brooke Henderson shot a 68 to finish regulation tied for fourth, four strokes back with South Koreans Sei Young Kim and Mi Jung Hur.