Somalia’s sports authorities have suspended the president of their athletics federation, Khadijo Adan Dahir. He is accused of abuse of power and is said to have ridiculed the country by nominating a representative “without any athletic preparation” who largely finished in the 100-meter dash at the Summer University Games last Tuesday in Chengdu, China. A video that went viral shows the young woman dressed in blue – Somalia’s national color – struggling to cross the 100m finish line after a never-ending run, more than 10 seconds behind the winner. The clip sparked mockery and outrage on social media, even among Somalis, who accused the young woman – who was later identified as Nasra Abukar Ali – of being a relative of the federation’s president, who was in fact suspended.
“We apologize to the public for the embarrassment this has caused the country and are investigating how it happened,” Somali Youth Minister Mohamed Barre Mohamud said on Wednesday. The athlete justified herself by saying that she suffered a “sprain” before the race and denied the connection. “You don’t blame the president for anything,” he said. Somalia, a Horn of Africa country plagued by an Islamist insurgency and severe drought, ranked last out of 180 countries in the 2022 NGO Transparency International Corruption Index.