Somalia’s minister of sports has accused the country’s head of athletics of “tarnishing the country’s honor” after a video with an apparently amateur athlete spread widely on social media.
Mohamed Barre Mohamud said on Wednesday that a woman who participated for Somalia in the 100 meter event at the World University Games in China, “is not a sportswoman or a runner”.
Nor does any “Somali University Sports Association” exist, the minister said in a letter to the country’s Olympic committee.
The woman, identified by the ministry as Nasro Abukar Ali, jogged over the finish line more than 10 seconds after the winner. Somalis reacted with mockery and anger on social media.
Mohamud said the chairman of the Somali Athletics Federation “made herself guilty of abuse of power, nepotism and tarnished the country’s honor in the international arena” by sending Ali to compete.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports said it intends to take legal action against the chairman, Khadijo Aden Dahir and those responsible for the “falsification of the Somali University Sports Association”.
The minister recommended that the Olympic committee suspend Dahir and convene an urgent meeting to determine the next steps.
Somalia, located on the coast of East Africa, the Horn of Africa, is fighting a violent militant insurgency and a record drought. The country ranked last out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s 2022 corruption index.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports should step down. It’s disheartening to witness such an incompetent government. How could they select an untrained girl to represent Somalia in running? It’s truly shocking and reflects poorly on our country internationally. pic.twitter.com/vMkBUA5JSL
— Elham Garaad ✍︎ (@EGaraad_) August 1, 2023