After allegations surfaced that she entered her niece, who is obviously not a sprinter, into the 100-meter event at the World University Games, a Somalian official was actually suspended. Photo by Jed Leicester/Action Images
There was an unusually high level of worldwide interest in the women’s 100-meter dash at the FISU 2023 World University Games today.
It’s not because someone in Chengdu, China, pulled off an extraordinary feat of efficiency. The opposite is true.
Nasara Ali Abukar, a Somalian, finished the 100-meter sprint on Tuesday, but it was discovered almost immediately that he was not officially eligible to compete.
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Abukar lagged behind the rest of the pack the entire way, finishing about 10 seconds behind the final finisher. Despite criticism, a video documenting the race quickly went viral online.
In just 21.81 seconds, Abukar, age 20. Females ran the 100-meter dash in a slowest of 15.26 seconds at the Tokyo Olympics of 2020. Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica ran a winning time of 10.61 seconds to take first place. At the Olympics, even the slowest time in the finals was over 10 seconds quicker than Abukar’s.
The circumstances surrounding Abukar’s participation in the event remain murky. There are claims that she has ties to the Somali Athletics Federation, and Newsweek reports that this is the case.
According to The Associated Press, Somalia’s Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Barre Mohamud publicly apologised and requested forgiveness on Wednesday. In addition, he ordered the suspension of Somalia’s Olympic Committee chairperson Khadija Aden Dahir following rumours that Abukar was related to her. No Somalian runners were included in the official Somalian delegation to China.
While I can see how Abukar’s performance would have upset some Somalis, it did inspire a fantastic idea.
Abukar’s proof, if nothing else, was quite approachable. And if we’re being completely honest, her time is probably within acceptable limits for an adult.