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‘Untrained’ Somali runner’s horrible performance at World University Games causes outrage

Outrage has ensued following an “untrained” Somali runner’s performance during a women’s 100-meter race at the World University Games in Chengdu, China, on Monday that can only be seen to believe. 

Nasra Abukar Ali, who is said to be 20 years old from Somalia, ran the 100-meter heat in 21.81 seconds. She finished dead last in the race.

Brazil’s Gabriela Silva finished the race 10 seconds before Ali crossed the finish line. The cameras for the event even panned back to Ali as she was still running while the rest of the competition was slowing down.

The performance – Ali was seemingly giving it her all, to her credit – has been viewed as a catastrophe for Somalia, and while some find it amusing to see Ali competing against some of the best athletes in the world, others don’t.

“The Ministry of Youth and Sports should step down. It’s disheartening to witness such an incompetent government,” Somali commentator Elham Garaad posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “How could they select an untrained girl to represent Somalia in running? It’s truly shocking and reflects poorly on our country internationally.”


Since the event caused worldwide outrage, the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Somalia did their own investigation into how Ali was selected for the World University Games despite clearly not showing she can compete against her opponents.

Ali did not need to qualify to participate in the games, but it was reported she is the niece of Khadija Aden Dahir, chairwoman of the Somali Athletics Federation. Dahir has posted a photo of Ali at her graduation on social media, which brought about a ton of suspicion and allegations of nepotism. 

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Somalia called for the suspension of Dahir following “a preliminary investigation meeting with the Executive Committee of the National Olympic Committee of Somalia.”

That investigation concluded that Ali “has been identified as not sports person nor a runner” and Dahir “has engaged in acts of abuse of power, nepotism, and defaming the name of the nation in international arena.”

“Furthermore, the Ministry of Youth and Sports firmly declares its intention to pursue legal action against both the Chairman of the Athletics Federation of Somalia and individuals responsible for the falsification of the Somali University Sports Association,” a statement from the office of the Minister of Youth and Sports Hon. Mohamed Barre Mohamud.

Ali being able to participate in the event in China, though, is a mystery to many. Normally, qualifications are needed to be able to compete in an event, but World Athletics does have one loophole that Dahir seems to have exploited.

“Countries who have no male and/or no female athletes who had achieved the entry standard or considered as having achieved the entry standard or a qualified relay team, can enter one unqualified male athlete or one unqualified female athlete in one event of the championships,” World Athletics states, per Yahoo Sports.

Countries will often enter an unqualified male or female athlete in the 100-meter race, which included Ka’Alieena Bien of the Marshall Islands during the 2022 World Athletics Championships. She finished her race at 14.71 seconds, which was well behind the 10.67-second gold medal-winning time.

General view of track

However, it was a much better finish than Ali’s time at the end of the day.

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