A viral video from a 100-meter race in China that caused confusion, plenty of laughs and claims of nepotism has now sparked an investigation into the Somali Athletic Federation.
On Aug. 1, a women’s 100-meter event for the World University Games was held in Chengdu, China. While most track races end with the crowd focusing on who crossed the finish line first, many social media users have been fixated on the Somali sprinter who came in last.
A clip from the race shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, shows six student athletes line up for their heat.
The Somali sprinter in lane four, 20-year-old Nasra Abukar Ali, according to The Associated Press, steps into her starting blocks. She appears to look around at the other runners’ stance and hand placements.
As the race begins, the Brazilian sprinter immediately takes the lead. Meanwhile, Ali lags so far behind that she is not seen on camera as the other sprinters complete the race.
Before the clip ends, Ali jogs across the finish line, clocking in at about 21 seconds and 10 seconds behind the winner.
The video currently has over 65 million views on X.
Elham Garaad, who posted the clip, expressed her frustration in the tweet.
“How could they select an untrained girl to represent Somalia in running?” she asked. “It’s truly shocking and reflects poorly on our country internationally.”
Others couldn’t help but laugh at the situation.
“That ‘woo that was a workout!’ skip at the end had me inconsolable,” one person said.
Another wrote, “We don’t truly appreciate how funny the world is.”
Some were so confused they wondered if the video was real.
‘This must be a skit,” one person tweeted.
Following some outrage and thousands of reactions to the viral clip, Somali’s Ministry of Youth and Sports announced on Aug. 2 that Khadijo Aden Dahir, the chairwoman of the Somali Athletics Federation, should be suspended.
The ministry said in a statement posted on X that it conducted an investigation and found that Ali was determined to be neither “sports person nor a runner.”
The statement also said Dahir “engaged in acts of abuse of power, nepotism, and defaming the name of the nation in international arena.”
Dahir and other “individuals responsible for the falsification of the Somali University Sports Association” might also face legal consequences, the statement said.
The name of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mohamed Barre Mohamud, was included at the end of the signed suspension recommendation.
He said the ministry is unsure why Ali was chosen to participate in the 100-meter race, according to The Associated Press.
The outlet also reported that Somalia’s university union confirmed it did not send any runners to the sporting event to represent the official Somali team.
On Aug. 2, the Somali Olympic Association temporarily suspended Dahir following the recommendation from the ministry, the Somali National News Agency reported.