Mogadishu(Mogadishu24)-The Federal Government of Somalia has distanced itself from any selection process that involved the representation of Somalia in the Inter-Universities Athletic Championships held in China.

A viral video featuring Nasra Abukar, a young girl wearing Somalia’s sports uniform and participating in the 100M race, has garnered online attention over the past two days.

The video captures Nasra running at a slower pace and finishing far behind her competitors, sparking social media reactions. Many have raised concerns about the competence of the athlete chosen to represent the country.

Critics have alleged poor selection processes driven by tribalism and favouritism. Some even claim that Nasra replaced another athlete who had been training for the past six months.

However, the Federal Minister for Youth and Sports, MP Mohamed Barre Mohamud, clarified that Nasra, the participant in the China competition, did not represent the Somali nation but was a representative of one of the country’s universities.

“As a ministry, we have conducted thorough investigations and followed up on this matter. After analysis of the report we obtained, I would like to clarify that there is a misunderstanding surrounding the lady in the video, who was representing a university in Somalia, not on a national or international level. The sports event in China is an inter-universities competition, not an international championship. She participated in this competition as a student representing one of the universities in Somalia,” stated the minister.

The minister emphasized that Nasra did not undergo any official selection process and extended apologies to the Somali people for the way the university chose her.

“When participating in an international event, the selection process involves qualification, conducted by the universities’ selection board, where qualified individuals are chosen to compete. Unfortunately, the lady did not go through the appropriate selection process according to the regulations of the ministry of sports. She was wrongfully selected by the university,” clarified the minister.

Furthermore, Nasra did not have any running history before her participation in the inter-universities competition.

However, Khadija Aden Dahir, Chairperson of the Somali Athletics Association, who addressed the media during the team’s departure to China, stated that Nasra had undergone intensive training to prepare for the hundred-meter race.

Participating alongside Nasra was Ali Idow, a 24-year-old athlete born in the city of Baidoa in South West Somalia. Unlike Nasra, Ali has considerable experience and has represented Somalia on several international competitions.

Ali embarked on his running journey in Somalia by participating in his first international competition around six years ago, as stated by Khadija Dahir, Chairperson of the Association of Athletics in Somalia.

In March of this year, Ali secured second place in a competition held in Djibouti, competing against participants from East African countries. He went on to represent Somalia in the 2021 Olympic Games in Japan, running the 1500 meters.

In June this year, Ali participated in the Arab countries’ competition in Algeria, marking his most recent international appearance. However, he did not secure any medals.

The Universities Association selects one or more students from the universities of participating countries. The Somali Athletics Federation does not directly send them; instead, students are chosen from universities.
Mrs. Khadija further shed light on Nasra’s selection process, confirming she was representing the entire Somali Universities, “she selected from the University of Jobkey, but she is representing the Somali universities in the inter-universities championship,” she explained.

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