Somali Olympic sprinter dies at sea

August 21st, 2012 - 9:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Mogadishu, Aug 21 (IANS) A Somali sprinter, who was member of the Olympic team at the 2008 Beijing Games, died during an attempt to reach the Italian shores on a boat full of migrants, the AKI news agency reported.

Samia Yusuf Omar, born in 1991, departed from Libyan shores but the boat she travelled in sank in April, the Somali National Olympic Committee said.

“Samia died trying to reach the West. She took a boat from Libya to reach Italy. But she never arrived,” said former Somali 1,500-metre champion Abdi Bile.

Thousands of migrants risk their lives aboard rickety vessels to reach Europe from North Africa.

According Human Rights Watch, 170 deaths have been registered in the first six months of this year. Around 13,500 people have died since 1998, including 1,500 in 2011, the deadliest year on record.

Omar took part in the 200 metres event in Beijing.

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