Athlete sparks allegations of nepotism with painfully slow performance in sprint

Slow sprinter at the FISU World University Games video goes viral

A viral video showing a novice runner taking part in the World University Games plunged the Somali Ministry of Youth and Sport into chaos.

Nasra Abubakar Ali, 20, donned her country’s colours as she stood among other runners at the starting line on the track in Chengdu, China, where the summer games are ongoing.

But as soon as the 100m race started, it became apparent she wasn’t quite on the same level of the other runners.

In a video that quickly went viral online, the woman is soon left out of the shot as she is outrun by her competitors.

Cameras only returned on Ms Ali several seconds after all the other runners had completed the race.

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The Somali athlete took almost twice as long as the winner to reach the finishing line, and completed the race with a jovial skip which attracted the attention of many social media users.

Her time was 21.81 seconds – which made her some 10 seconds slower than the winner.

Following the shocking race which took place on August 1, the Somali Ministry of Youth and Sport denounced in a statement dated August 2 Ms Ali is “not a sports person, nor a runner”. 

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Also on Wednesday (August 2), Somalia’s Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Barre Mohamud apologised and ordered the suspension of the chairwoman of the Somali Athletics Federation, Khadija Aden Dahir.

In the sports ministry’s statement, Mr Mohamud also accused Ms Dahir of engaging in “acts of abuse of power, nepotism, and defaming the name of the nation in the international arena”.

A preliminary investigation launched by the Somali sports ministry showed the Somali University Sports Association with which Ms Ali attended the Games does not exist.

The ministry, which didn’t elaborate on the connection between Ms Ali and Ms Dahir, also said it will pursue legal action against both the Chairman of the Athletics Federation of Somalia and other individuals responsible for the “falsification” of the sports group.

Following the now-notorious race, some social media users have come out to claim Ms Ali is Ms Dahir’s niece.

One Twitter user named Jamac S. Cosoble said on the social media platform this episode had made Somalia “the laughing stock of the world”.

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