Aguida (or Agueda) Amaral (born May 27, 1972) is an East Timorese athlete. She was one of the first athletes to represent East Timor at the Olympic Games, when she ran the marathon at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. 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.[1] 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 reported:

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.[2]

The Independent likewise reported that Amaral "completed the course to a standing ovation".[3][dead link]

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,[4] 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.[5][6]

CNN described her arrival in the stadium as "the most moving moment" of the race.[7][dead link] The New York Times wrote that her "performance in the Sydney Games inspired the world", and described her as "a source of national pride".[4]

Amaral competed again at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, this time formally representing East Timor - the only one aside from fellow marathonist Gil Da Cruz Trindade.[8] 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.[9][dead link]

Amaral is a police officer, and, as of 2004, has four children.[10][dead link]


  • All results regarding marathon, unless stated otherwise
Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Competed as an  Independent Olympic Athletes
2000 Olympic Games Sydney, Australia 43rd 3:10:55
Representing  Timor-Leste
2004 Olympic Games Athens, Greece 65th 3:18:25
2005 World Championships Helsinki, Finland DNF


  1. ^ The Australian From the bottom of the leaderboard July 27 2012 Retrieved on August 7, 2012
  2. ^ "Takahashi breaks women's marathon record", Associated Press, September 24, 2000
  3. ^ "Olympic Games: Athletics: Takahashi has rivals gasping in her wake", The Independent, September 25, 2000
  4. ^ a b "Runners of East Timor Have Emerged as Symbols of Independence", East Timor and Indonesia Action Network quoting New York Times, May 27, 2001
  5. ^ "OLYMPICS; East Timor Athletes Enjoy Independence", New York Times, September 9, 2000
  6. ^ "And in 54th place, it's...", Time Magazine, August 16, 2004
  7. ^ "Breakaway: Takahashi outruns pack en route to marathon mark", CNN, September 23, 2000
  8. ^ For Asia's smallest nations, chance in the Olympics already amounts to victory
  9. ^ "Women's Marathon Final", CCN, August 22, 2004
  10. ^ "Tiny East Timor limbers up for Olympic debut", CBC, June 3, 2004

External links