A Somali sports official was suspended for nepotism on Wednesday after a viral video showed an apparent novice runner leaping over the finish line in last place at an international competition.
The video, which circulated widely on Wednesday, showed Nasro Abukar Ali competing in the third heat of the first round of the women’s 100 meters at the International University Sports Federation (FISU) Summer World University Games in China.
Ali starts sluggishly out of the blocks as the other runners rush forward and quickly fades far behind the pack before jogging towards the finish line and finishing with a small skip.
She finished in 21.81 seconds – more than 8 seconds slower than the second-to-last runner and more than 10 seconds behind the winner of the heat.
The video immediately made waves on social media, sparking ridicule, disbelief and, for some, anger.
“It is disheartening to witness such an incompetent government. How could they select an untrained girl to represent Somalia in the race?” one person on Twitter, now known as X, wrote in a post with more than 47 million likes. “It’s really shocking and reflects badly on our country internationally.”
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Youth and Sports has off Somalia said it had suspended Khadijo Aden Dahir, the president of the Somali Athletics Federation. It alleged that Dahir had engaged in “abuse of power, nepotism and defamation of the nation’s name in the international arena,” in a letter to the Somali National Olympic Committee and tweeted by the ministry.
Somali Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Barre Mohamud said Ali was not a “sports person or a runner.” According to Forbes, Mohamud had previously “apologized” for the incident in a Facebook video. “What happened today was not representative of the Somali people,” he said in Somali, Forbes reported.
Although his letter referred to nepotism, no direct connection was made between Dahir and Ali.
On Tuesday, the Association of Somalia Universities said in a statement that it had not sent any runners to the event.
In Wednesday’s letter, the Ministry of Youth and Sports said an investigation showed there was no “registered Somali University Sports Association,” without elaborating on the association and its role in the competition.
The letter added that the ministry intends to “pursue legal action against both the president of the Athletics Federation of Somalia and persons responsible for the falsification of the Somali University Sports Association.”
CNN has reached out to Mohamud for comment through the East African country’s sports ministry and to the organizers of the FISU event, the Somali National Olympic Committee, the Somali Athletics Federation and World Athletics.
The Summer World University Games are underway in Chengdu in southwest China.