Derartu Tulu

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Derartu Tulu (born March 21, 1972 in Bekoji, Arsi oromo, Ethiopia) is an Ethiopian long distance track, road and marathon athlete.

Derartu (ዻራርቱ ቱሉ), a member of the Oromo ethnic group, grew up tending cattle in the village of Bekoji in the highlands of Arsi Province. The same village as Kenenisa Bekele, the male running sensation.

Her cousins Ejegayehu Dibaba, Tirunesh Dibaba and Genzebe Dibaba are all successful international long-distance runners, continuing the successful athletic history of the Oromo people.

In 2004, she declined to enter the New York Marathon, where she would have been likely to face marathon World Record holder Paula Radcliffe, whom she has had a great rivalry with over the years, and focused instead on the Olympic Games, where she won the bronze medal in the 10 000 m behind Xing Huina and her cousin Ejegayehu Dibaba. (Radcliffe failed to finish.)

Derartu is the first Ethiopian woman to win a medal in the Olympic Games. She is also the first woman from Africa to win an Olympic gold medal. Her 1992 Olympic gold medal launched her career. She sat out 1993 and 1994 with a knee injury and returned to competition in the 1995 IAAF World Cross Country Championships where she won gold, having arrived at the race only an hour before the start. She was stuck in Athens airport without sleep for 24 hours. The same year she lost out to Fernanda Ribeiro and won silver at the World Championships 10,000.

1996 was a difficult year. At the...
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