Aguida (or Agueda) Amaral (born 27 May 1972) is an East Timor
ese athlete. She was one of the first athletes to represent East Timor
at the Olympic Games
, and the first woman to represent the nation, when she ran
at the 2000 Summer Olympics
. She technically competed as an individual athlete because East Timor was newly independent and had not yet been formally recognized by the International Olympic Committee
. With a time of 3:10:55, she finished 43rd out of the 45 runners who completed the race, although eight other runners failed to finish.
The Associated Press
:''Not realizing she had one more lap to run, Amaral stopped near the finish line and placed her hands together as she knelt to the track. An official gently informed Amaral she was not done, and she took one more lap to rousing applause.''
'' likewise reported that Amaral "completed the course to a standing ovation".
The Sydney Olympics followed East Timor's declaration of independence from Indonesia in 1999, and the ensuing violence
. Amaral had fled her home in Dili
, stayed in a refugee camp,
and returned eventually to find it looted and burned. Along with her home and other belongings, her only pair of running shoes had been destroyed in the arson attack. She trained for the Olympics by running barefoot, until shoes were donated to her by Australia
described her arrival in the stadium as "the most moving moment" of the race. ''The New York Times
'' wrote that her "performance in the Sydney Games inspired the world", and described her as "a source of national pride".
Amaral competed again
at the 2004 Summer Olympics
, this time formally representing East Timor – the only one aside from fellow marathonist Gil Da Cruz Trindade
. She finished with a time of 3:18:25, being 65th of the 66 runners who completed the marathon – her time over half an hour faster than that of Mongolia
's Luvsanlkhündegiin Otgonbayar
Amaral is a police officer, and as of 2004, has four children.
*All results regarding marathon, unless stated otherwise
Category:East Timorese female marathon runners
Category:East Timorese female long-distance runners
Category:East Timorese police officers
Category:Olympic athletes of East Timor
Category:Athletes (track and field) at the 2000 Summer Olympics
Category:Athletes (track and field) at the 2004 Summer Olympics
Category:World Athletics Championships athletes for East Timor