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Derartu Tulu Receives World Athletics’ Plaque of Merit

President Sahlework sent a congratulatory message to Derartu Tulu who received the Plaque of Merit from the World Athletics on Friday.

The legendary distance runner and current Ethiopian Athletics Federations President received the Plaque of Merit for her services to World Athletics and the sport of track and field.

In the message on Saturday, President Sahlework says:

“Congratulations for receiving the “Plaque of Merit” for your outstanding contribution to that sport worldwide! Many of us were not surprised since we know your lifelong unwavering commitment to athletics.

You always bring joy to our hearts as when you made history in 1992, at a time when we needed it most, winning but also showing magnanimity towards your competitor, that winning rimes also with losing…and rising up again better prepared.

You again came at a good time.

Thank you for all you do beyond sport for our one and only Ethiopia, for standing tall in front of pettiness.“

About Derartu

Derartu grew up in the village of Bekoji, the southeast region of the Ethiopian capital, in the highlands that has since become synonymous with distance running legend Kenenisa Bekele.

In her teens, Derartu’s teacher encouraged her to compete over 800m and 1500m. At 16, Tulu finished third at the national cross-country championships held in Addis Ababa. During that same decade, Ethiopia had boycotted the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games.

In 1988, Derartu moved to the Ethiopian capital to join the police athletics club. The move paid off and she went on to win the 10,000m at the 1990 World U20 Championships, then set a world U20 record over the same distance in 1991.

But it was the following year – at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona – that she left a huge mark in world athletics sports history. The 20-year-old dug deep to stick with South Africa’s Elana Meyer before sprinting clear on the last lap and entering the history books as the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal.

After that, Derartu went on to complete a world cross country hat-trick in Vilamoura in 2000, the year in which she won a second Olympic 10,000m gold. She also won a World Championship 10,000m title in Edmonton in 2001 before turning to the marathon and notching victories in London, Tokyo, and New York.

Now, the Ethiopian queen of distance running has continued to lead from the front for her sport as president of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation.

(Additional info WA)

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