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Somalia Suspends Athletics Head After Runner Goes Viral in Snail-Paced 100m

Untrained sprinter came dead last in race, taking nearly twice as long to finish as the winner.

Somalia’s athletics boss has been suspended after an untrained runner went viral for taking nearly 22 seconds to complete the 100-metre sprint at an international competition.

Nasra Abukar Ali, 20, came dead last at the World University Games in Chengdu, China on Tuesday, taking almost twice as long to finish as the winner, Brazil’s Gabriela Mourão.

In a video that went viral online, Nasra Abukar falls so far behind the pack that she is out frame for most of the race and finishes in a skip across the finish line.

Nasra Abukar’s performance prompted ridicule and disbelief online, with some social media users holding 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 Mohamud said on Wednesday that inquiries with the National Olympic Committees revealed that Ali had no background in running or any other sport.

Mohamud said he 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.

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 apologised over the incident and said his ministry was not aware Ali had been selected to compete at the games.