Somali Olympian Drowns Trying to Emigrate to Italy

Mogadishu Islamists threatened her life
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2012 11:31 PM CDT
Updated Aug 21, 2012 3:32 AM CDT
Somali Olympian Drowns Trying to Emigrate to Italy
Samia Yusuf Omar walks away from aheat of the women's 200-meter at the Beijing Olympics.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

A Somali Olympic female runner drowned as she tried to emigrate to Italy on a boat from Libya, Italian media revealed yesterday. The boat sank as Samia Yusuf Omar, 21, made her desperate bid to escape her African home in April, reports the BBC. Samia faced death threats from the Islamist militia al-Shabab and supporters, who oppose female athletes, when she returned to Mogadishu after the 2008 Olympics, according to al-Jazeera.

She moved to Ethiopia to train for the 2012 Games in London, but drowned in the spring. She came in last in the 200-meter event in Beijing, but was considered an impressive runner who managed to make it to the 2008 Olympics despite having almost no formal training. (More Samia Yusuf Omar stories.)

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