In the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1966 in Kingston Temu appeared unexpectedly on the international athletics scene when he won the world record holder Ron Clarke defeated in the 6-mile race. Two days later, was Temu fourth in the 3- mile race.
At the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City in the 10,000 - meter race could only Mamo Wolde the pace of Temu keep up. But Temu overtook the Ethiopians 50 meters from the finish and won the race. In the 5000 -meter run Temu won the bronze medal. Temu took some days later in the marathon in part, in which he reached number 19.
After the success in Mexico Temu could never more to build on its previous achievements. At the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972, he retired from the 10,000 m in the flow.
Naftali Temu died at the age of 57 after a long and severe illness.