• April 16 down the years

A hat-trick for Pinto

Antonio Pinto broke the European marathon record in London © Getty Images
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2000
António Pinto of Portugal won the London Marathon for the third time. His time of 2 hours 6 minutes 36 seconds broke the European record set on April 20, 1985 and set one that was equalled three years later but hasn't been broken since. Kenya's Tegla Loroupe won the women's race.

2000
Australian international winger Ryan Constable scored six tries, a Premiership record, for Saracens at Bedford. He scored three in each half and broke the record with three minutes to go. Sarries led 35-12 at half-time and won 57-29 on a tackle-free zone. Kyran Bracken ran things from scrum-half, and Thierry Lacroix converted six of Saracens' nine tries. Andy Gomarsall kicked four penalties for Bedford, who scored three tries of their own.

1978
Widnes clinched the rugby league Championship for the first time by winning 58-10 against New Hunslet, who went on to be relegated. Widnes led 29-0 at half-time and were slightly disappointed to finish one point off the highest score in their history. They kicked eight goals, and Stuart Wright scored three of their 14 tries. New Hunslet managed two of their own in the second half.

1952
When Rocky Graziano challenged Sugar Ray Robinson for the world middleweight title, there was only one guarantee: the fight wouldn't go the distance. Rocky didn't deal in distance. The vast majority of his fights ended in a knockout, almost always his opponent's. And Sugar Ray also had a wicked punch in both hands. So people expected fireworks - and they got them, though they all came from the same direction. Robinson later said that 'No-one ever hit me harder than Rocky.' But he was being generous, or patronising: Graziano hardly hit him at all. He did cuff Robinson into the ropes in the third round, but it was more of a slip off-balance. And by then Graziano had already taken a lot of punches. His complete lack of defence had cost him four years earlier, when Tony Zale regained the title by knocking him out in the third. Graziano was unbeaten in 21 fights since then, but now the old deficiencies were exposed by another great champion. Robinson caught him with a terrifying right hand flush in the face, and he didn't quite beat the count. Sugar Ray retired afterwards, then came back to win the title three more times. Graziano had one more fight, then retired for good.

1972
Conchita Martínez was born Inmaculada Concepción Martínez in Spain. A hefty baseliner, she had her biggest moment in tennis on July 2, 1994, when she stopped Martina Navrátilová from winning the Wimbledon singles title for the 10th time. It was the only Grand Slam singles title Martínez ever won: she lost the finals of the Australian Open in 1998 and the French in 2000. With Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, she reached ten Fed Cup finals from 1989 to 2002, winning five of them.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the NBA's top scorer © Getty Images
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1947
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was born Lew Alcindor in New York and grew and grew. One of the greatest and most successful basketball players of all time, he was famous for his skyhook shot, which involved putting himself between the basket and the ball. Since he had arms like Kong and stood 7ft 2in, the shot was almost impossible to stop - so it's no wonder he scored a record 38,387 points in the NBA. He won the title six times from 1971 to 1988, five times with the LA Lakers, and was voted league MVP another six times.

1978
Chris Evert beat Kerry Reid in the final of the Family Circle Tournament in South Carolina. It was Evert's 118th consecutive win on clay, going back to 1973. She lost only five sets in those 118 matches. The streak ended on May 12 the following year.

1972
In golf, Jane Blalock was unlucky to win the inaugural Colgate Dinah Shore before it became a Major. It's now the Kraft Nabisco and one of the big four. Blalock eventually became the player with most LPGA tournament wins (27) without ever winning a Major.

1971
Natasha Zvereva was born in the USSR. She played in nine Wimbledon doubles finals from 1988 to 1998, winning five, including four in a row. She was also runner-up in the mixed in 1991. She reached 31 Grand Slam doubles finals, winning 18, and was an Olympic bronze medallist in 1992. Monica Seleš credited her with having 'the best hands in the game', but she never had the same success in singles. She accomplished the rare feat of winning the Wimbledon junior title in consecutive years, but her only Grand Slam singles final, the French in 1988 when she'd just turned 17, ended in an equally uncommon 6-0 6-0 whitewash by Steffi Graf. At Wimbledon ten years later, Zvereva beat both Graf and Seleš in straight sets before losing to the unexceptional Nathalie Tauziat in the semi-final. She helped the USSR reach two Fed Cup finals.

1960
The first Thai boxer to win a world title beat the first Argentinian - and ended a legendary reign. Pascual Pérez was a classy flyweight with a severe punch who won the Olympic gold medal in 1948, the world professional title (against the first Japanese world champion) six years later, and remained unbeaten in his first 52 fights. Then he lost a non-title bout, and although he won the rematch, he was knocked down in the second round, which didn't bode well for his visit to Bangkok. Pérez defended his title all over the world, so an opponent's backyard was nothing new. But he was very nearly 34 by now, and Pone Kingpetch was the last thing an ageing champion needs: an exhausting all-action man. Pérez was no slouch himself, so the fight went at a furious pace throughout. The split decision might suggest a hometown win, but Kingpetch won the return fight with a knockout. Pérez went back to fighting in Argentina after that, retiring in 1964. Kingpetch regained the title twice before losing it once and for all on April 23, 1965.

1953 and 1957
For the anorak that's in all of us. The Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins met in Stanley Cup finals, the Canadiens winning 4-1 each time. On the same day in 1954, the Canadiens lost in the finals. On the same day in 1939, the Bruins won in the finals.

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