Bendere Oboya is an Olympian who was awarded a Tier 1 Scholarship within the 2022 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program, and is the first 400m runner to be part of the program.
Bendere was born in Gambella, Ethiopia, in 2000 and moved to Australia as a three-year-old with her family. She began running at Campbelltown Little Athletics in Sydney and soon set a 400m PB of 75 seconds.
At the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games, Bendere demonstrated her true potential in winning gold in the 400m. Just a year later she ran 51.94 at the Australian Track and Field Championships, missing Commonwealth Games selection by 0.02 seconds.
She then lowered her PB to 51.21 in the heats at the World Athletics Championships in 2019 and reached the semi-final. Her heat time was a national U/20 record and earned her a place on the Australian team for the Tokyo Olympic Games. 2019 was also the year she won her first national senior title.
On home soil in 2021, she won the 400m at the NSW State Track and Field Championships and took gold in the 300m at the Sydney Track Classic in 36.71, to become the fourth fastest Australian woman of all time over this distance. She also won a second title at the national championships.
Bendere is the current Oceania Record Holder in the 4x400m Relay and 400m national champion, and hopes to reach the podium at international level. Away from the track, she enjoys photography and hopes to build a school in Gambella in order to help less fortunate children to live safe and peaceful lives.
“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.”
Awards, Honours & Achievements
- 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
- 2022: Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship Holder – Tier 1
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Bio picture credit: Phill Hillyard