Somalia suspends athletics head after runner takes 21 seconds to complete 100m in the World University Games

Slow and steady does not win the 100-meter dash, a Somalia runner demonstrated at the Summer World University Games in Chengdu, China.

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Payal Debnath
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Somalia's youth and sports minister has suspended the president of the country's athletics federation. They are also preparing to launch legal action after a female runner took more than 21 seconds to complete the 100m at the World University Games in Chengdu, China on Tuesday. Nasra Abubakar Ali competed in the women's 100m at the Student Games in China, but finished last. She took almost twice as long as the winner, who clocked 11.58 seconds.

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Somalia suspends athletics head after runner takes 21 seconds to complete 100m in the World University Games | Sportz Point

Abukar is not the first Somalia athlete in the spotlight for a slow performance in elite running. Image- Deccan Herald

In a clip that has gone viral on social media, the untrained 20-year-old was not even in the frame as the rest of the field crossed the line. Nasra Abukar's performance in the World University Games prompted ridicule and disbelief online. Some social media users holded it up as an example of the corruption and incompetence of the Somali government. Her time of 21.81 seconds, more than 10 seconds behind the winning time of 11.58 seconds, has been widely described in international media as the "slowest-ever" time in the history of the 100m.

Sports Minister Mohamed Barre said that an investigation was carried out with Somalia's National Olympic Committee. After that, it was revealed that Ali was neither a player nor a runner. Mohamud had suspended Somali Athletics Federation Chairwomen Khadijo Aden Dahir for "abuse of power, nepotism, and defaming the name of the nation", and would take legal action over the incident. Mohamud also said there was no registered Somali University Sports Association without elaborating on the group's connection to the competition.

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The Association of Somalia Universities said in an earlier statement that it had not sent runners to the competition. Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Barre Mohamud earlier apologized over the incident. He said his ministry was not aware Ali had been selected to compete at the World University Games. Abukar is not the first Somali athlete in the spotlight for a slow performance in elite running.

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