Samia, the sprinter that rocked Beijing, dies on her way to new dream
Samia Yusuf Omar failed to make his dream of taking part in the London games true as she died while on her way to Italy on a boat from Lybia.
Samia Yusuf Omar. Photo: EFE
Samia Yusuf Omar, the Somali sprinter that rocked the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games when she competed in the 200 meter sprint, failed to fulfill his dream of taking part in the London games as she died while on her way to Italy on a boat from Lybia.
According to reports by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Samia Yusuf Omar left Ethiopia in 2011, crossed the Sudan and reached Libya. She had hoped to reach Italy and find a coach to train for the 2012 Games but died when the boat where she was traveling had an accident.
Mustafa Abdelaziz, Samia's coach, told the Italian newspaper that the Somali sprinter had tried to reach Italy by boat. Thousands of Africans seeking a better life in Europe regularly attempt treacherous journeys in overcrowded boats. Most are caught and hundreds more die along the way.
Samia Yusuf Omar represented Somalia at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She finished last in her first round heat with the crowd roaring in applause and recognizing the bravery of a woman that had fought the unspeakable to take part in the Games.
Training for the event was a challenge for Samia. Mogadishu stadium offered the only running track for her to practice. However it was taken over by the insurgents and made into a military compound.
Samia then had to train by running the streets of Mogadishu. As Samia would run she would be harassed and verbally abused by men who would say she was dressed inappropriate for a woman.
Samia was determined to attend the Olympics, not to earn a medal, but to waive the flag of her nation for the world to see that the land of her birth is represented at the Olympics.