Somalian sports minister apologizes for slow 100-meter University Games sprinter

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MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somalia’s sports minister publicly apologized Wednesday and ordered that the chairwoman of the national track and field federation be suspended after a seemingly untrained female sprinter represented the African country at the World University Games in China and took more than 20 seconds to finish a 100-meter race.

Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Barre Mohamud said his ministry did not know how 20-year-old Nasra Abukar Ali was selected to compete in the women’s 100 at the student games in Chengdu on Tuesday.

The ministry separately released a statement directing the Somalia Olympic Committee to suspend national athletics federation chairwoman Khadija Aden Dahir amid allegations that Nasra Abukar was a relative of hers and was given the chance to compete at the games because of that.

Somalia’s university union said it had not sent any runners to China as part of an official Somali team.

A video of the agonizingly slow run by Nasra Abukar was shared across social media and Mohamud said that the performance was embarrassing for Somalia.

In her qualifying race, Nasra Abukar was immediately left behind by the other runners and finished about 10 seconds after the winner. Despite being dead last, she did a little skip in the air as she crossed the finish line.

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