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Portugal’s Pinto Finally Gets Medal

August 18, 1998

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) _ Portugal’s Antonio Pinto, who drinks four or five bottles of wine a week, mostly from his own vineyard, finally won a gold medal Tuesday.

Pinto, 32, a two-time winner of the London Marathon but never a medalist in any major championship, won the 10,000 meters at the European Championships. He outdueled 1992 Olympic 5,000-meter champion Dieter Baumann of Germany over the final four laps.

Pinto was timed in 27 minutes, 48.62 seconds, with Baumann second at 27:56.75.

Other golds on the first day of the six-day championships went to Alexander Bagach of Ukraine in the shot put and Russia’s Ilya Markov in the 20-kilometer walk.

For Bagach, it was another medal in a drug-tainted career that saw him disqualified after finishing first at last year’s World Championships at Athens, Greece, where he tested positive for the banned substance ephedrine. He also served a two-year ban after failing a drug test in 1989 and got bronze two years ago at the Atlanta Games.

This win also was controversial because of a possible violation of an obscure rule.

``I do not want to declare anything for the time being,″ Bagach said. ``Though I have won the competition, some problems have arisen. The judges say I had some weights hidden in my socks, which made my rotation more efficient.″

Meet officials declined to comment. The medal ceremony is Wednesday.

Bagach’s best throw was 69 feet, 5 1/4 inches. Germany’s Oliver-Sven Buder was second at 68-10.

Pinto’s medal ended 10 years of frustration.

``I didn’t want to end my career without a medal of some kind,″ he said. ``Gold is all the better.

``I knew Dieter would be difficult, so I just pushed very hard the last four or five laps.″

Baumann, the defending European 5,000 champion, was running only his third 10,000-meter race _ and it showed at the end.

``The last six laps were difficult,″ he said. ``I lost my rhythm and then got it back, so it wasn’t so bad at the end.″

In the walk, Markov _ silver medalist at Atlanta _ took the lead from Latvia’s Aigars Fadejevs as they entered Nep stadium. Markov clocked 1:21:10, 15 seconds ahead of Fadejevs.

In a full schedule of qualifying, three British sprinters had the top times in the men’s 100 leading into Wednesday’s semifinals and final. Dwain Chambers and Darren Campbell both clocked 10.26 and Marlon Devonish ran 10.28.

In the women’s 100, with the final also Wednesday, defending champion Irina Privalova of Russia, coming back from a hamstring injury, won her heat in 11.22. Ekaterini Thanou of Greece qualified with the fastest time, 11.04, and Zhanna Pintusevich of Ukraine, the 200 world champion, clocked 11.06.

In the first surprise of the championships, Daniela Bartova, the Czech pole vaulter who broke the world record 10 times in 1995, failed to qualify for the final.

Bartova, who set the European record at 14-9 1/2 in June, failed in all three attempts at 13-7 1/4.

World champion Stephane Diagana of France cleared the first round of qualifying by winning his 400 hurdles heat in 49.28. Ruslan Mashchenko of Russia, who has the fastest time in Europe this year of 48.06, won his heat in a relatively slow 50.30.

Fermin Cacho, the 1992 Olympic champion from Spain, led all qualifiers in the 1,500 in 3:38.52. Cacho also was the silver medalist at the 1996 Games and took silver at the World Championships last year.

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