The women’s 100-meter race at the FISU 2023 World University Games drew an unusual amount of worldwide attention this week.
But it’s not because anybody pulled out a dominant performance in Chengdu, China. It’s the exact opposite.
Somalia’s Nasara Ali Abukar competed in the 100-meter race Tuesday, but almost immediately after the race started, it was clear that Abukar wasn’t qualified to be in the race.
Abukar lagged behind the rest of the field throughout the entire race, and finished almost a full 10 seconds behind the last person to cross the finish line. Video from the race, while slammed by some, quickly went viral.
Abukar, 20, finished the race in 21.81 seconds. By comparison, the slowest time at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo in the women’s 100-meter race was 15.26 seconds. Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah won the gold medal with a time of 10.61. The slowest time in the finals at the Olympics was still significantly more than 10 seconds faster than Abukar’s time.
It’s not quite clear how Abukar managed to enter the race in the first place. According to Newsweek, there are allegations that she is related to an official within the Somali Athletics Federation.
Somalia’s Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Barre Mohamud apologized publicly Wednesday, per The Associated Press. He also directed Somalia’s Olympic Committee to suspend chairwoman Khadija Aden Dahir amid allegations that Abukar was a relative of hers. Somalia didn’t send any runners to China as part of an official delegation, either.
While it’s easy to understand why Somalians may be upset after watching Abukar’s performance, it did lead to a pretty decent idea:
If nothing else, Abukar’s showing was incredibly relatable. And, if we’re being honest, her time is probably pretty good for the average adult.