Bendere Oboya was awarded a Tier 1 Scholarship within the 2022 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program. She is the first 400m runner to be a part of the Program.
Bendere was born in Gambella, Ethiopia and arrived in Australia as a three-year-old, along with her four siblings and other relatives.
Bendere started running in 2017 at Campbelltown Little Athletics and developed a passion for it almost instantly. After just four short years of Little Athletics, she was running a 400m personal best of 75 seconds and, given her success, decided to make the 400m event her focus.
Her obvious athletic talent soon caught the eye of the staff at her school and with their support she quickly rose through the ranks to make her major event debut at the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games where she claimed 400m gold.
In 2018, Bendere competed at the Australian Track and Field Championship which doubled as trials for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Her focus was again on the 400m, in which she ran a 51.94. Unfortunately this resulted in her narrowly missing out on Gold by 0.02 seconds. The disappointment didn’t dampen her spirit or focus though and by 2019 she had qualified for the World Athletics Championships where she ran a PB time of 51.21 in the 400m final.
With three years of elite competition under her belt, and after having gained much needed experience at major events around the world, Bendere had a sharp focus to make 2021 a breakout year. She competed in the Sydney Track Classic where she claimed gold in the 300m in a time of 36.71. This was the fourth fastest Australian time in history and earned her qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games where she debuted for Australia against the world’s best.
Away from the track and the spotlight of being the fastest ever Australian woman across 400m, Bendere is an aspiring photographer with hopes of using her Olympic profile to build a foundation to help less fortunate kids live safe, peaceful lives. She would also like to build a school in her native Gambella, Ethiopia. She’s a mostly private person who prefers a low-key, quiet life, however, when that starter’s gun fires, she has a fierce determination to be the best in the world. She’s a truly independent woman and world class athlete.
“To be a successful Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship Holder, means the world to me as I have just started to learn how to balance school and athletics with my everyday life. This couldn’t have come at a better time as I have just moved out of home to a completely different state to focus on track and my new course in a Certificate 3 in individual support, ageing, home, and community. Having the support of someone such as Steph Rice just couldn’t have come at a better time and I am so grateful to have her help me path my way to success on and off the track.” – Bendere Oboya on being selected as a 2022 Tier 1 Scholarship Holder.
“If the end goal isn’t to help people, this is all for nothing.”
- 2017: Youth Commonwealth Games – gold 400m, gold 4×400 mixed relay
- 2018: Australian Track and Field Championship/Commonwealth Games Trials – 51.94 in the 400m
- 2019: Signed with Adidas
- 2019: World Athletics Championships, Doha – 3rd in heat, Olympic Qualifier, 400m in 51.21 – PB
- 2020: Melbourne Track Classic – gold?, 400m in 52.00
- 2021: NSW State Track and Field Championships – First place, 400m in 61
- 2021: Sydney Track Classic – gold, 4th fastest Australian of all time, 300m in 36.71
- 2021: Tokyo Olympic Games – Represented Australia
Bio picture credit: Phill Hillyard