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Watch: Somalia fires athletics chief after viral ‘runner’ video

Following a preliminary investigation, Somalia's Ministry of Youth and Sports found out that Nasro Abukar Ali was neither a sports person nor a runner

Somalia has suspended its athletics federation chief and launched a major investigation after a female sprinter representing the country clocked 21.81 seconds in a women’s 100m event at an international competition in China.

The video of 20-year-old Nasro Abukar Ali finishing last, more than 10 seconds behind the winner of the heat event, at the 2023 World University Games in Chengdu has gone viral on social media.

The clip, which shows Ali moving at a snail’s pace while other athletes cross the finishing line, has sparked outrage and shock in the easternmost country of Africa.

Following a preliminary investigation, Somalia’s Ministry of Youth and Sports found out that Ali was neither a sports person nor a runner and there was also no registered Somali University Sports Association.

The controversy intensified as Khadija Aden Dahir, the Chairwoman of the Somali Athletics Federation, was accused of engaging in acts of “abuse of power, nepotism, and defaming the name of the nation in international arena”.

Country’s Sports Minister Mohamed Barre Mohamud urged Somalia National Olympics Committee to suspend Dahir and also declared his ministry’s intention to pursue legal action against both the chairperson of the athletics federation and individuals responsible for the falsification of the Somali University Sports Association.

As many as 6,500 athletes from 113 countries are competing in the two-year delayed World University Games in Chengdu that features 18 sports and will run until August 8 in the capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan.