East Timor's Olympic hope bows out


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East Timor’s hope of Olympic glory in Beijing was dashed on Sunday when Mariana Dias Ximenes, 25, failed to finish in the women’s marathon.

The backbreaking course took athletes from Tiananmen Square to the National Stadium for a grand finish, but Dias Ximenes made it just over halfway when an injured foot forced her to retire.

Dias Ximenes was East Timor’s only athlete competing at this year’s Olympic Games. This was only the third marathon she had ever taken part in a marathon after running one at the Asian Games in 2002 and one in Malang, Indonesia, this year.

Dias Ximenes told reporters that she had been training for two hours every day, except on Sundays when she goes to church.

“I know that the people of East Timor support me and I hope I can do the best for my country,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted her as saying.

After her whirlwind trip of a lifetime, Dias Ximenes will now return to Bali where she recently graduated.

There was no word on whether the young runner will be in London to fly her country’s flag at the 2012 Games.

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