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Khannouchi closing in on US citizenship

By Associated Press, 4/17/2000

ONDON - Lawyers for Khalid Khannouchi, the world's fastest marathoner, are almost certain he will get his US citizenship May 3, his wife said yesterday.

Sandra Khannouchi said there was then the possibility the two-time Chicago Marathon champion could run in the US marathon trials May 7.

The Moroccan long-distance star, who placed third in yesterday's London Marathon, has lived in the United States since 1993. But his application to become an American citizen has been stalled by administrative procedure, according to Sandra Khannouchi.

''We're flying to Houston tomorrow so that he can have his fingerprints taken electronically,'' she said. ''He also has to take a test on the history of the United States. After that, it should take only a week.

''According to our lawyers, there's a 95 percent chance he will get citizenship on May 3.''

She said that his chances of running in the May 7 trials would depend on how fast he recovers from the London race.

''It's three weeks till the race, so if he gets a good recovery, he could be able to run fast enough in the trials,'' Sandra Khannouchi said. ''If not, he would have to go to the track trials and run the 10,000 meters [July 14].''

Khannouchi said he suffered a little just after the halfway mark in the London Marathon and at one point was in eighth place. Khannouchi was timed in 2 hours 8 minutes 36 seconds.

Portugal's Antonio Pinto's time of 2:06.36 was a course record and fifth-fastest marathon ever but well outside Khannouchi's world best of 2:05.42 set at Chicago last October.

''I don't like to lose,'' Khannouchi said. ''It was a real tough day for me. We didn't run a regular pace, and at 15 miles I started to feel cold. So to come from eight to third makes me happy.

''I don't know whether thinking about the Olympics affected me or not.''

This story ran on page E12 of the Boston Globe on 4/17/2000.
© Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.

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