Getting to the Olympics is tough for anyone — imagine training in a country in the midst of 17 years of civil war and chaos, where militia men try to prevent you from training. That's the case for 16-year-old Somali sprinter, Samiya Yuusf Omar. Battling her way up from poverty with a single mother, and facing pressure from friends and relatives who tell her that running will prevent her from marrying and from a better life, she's qualified to represent her country in Beijing.
Despite literal roadblocks that prevent her from going to practice, and when she does get to it, training at a track pocked with mortar holes, Samiya runs through all of the insults and warnings. She may come by her speed naturally; to see how,
Samiya's mother was a national-level athlete before Samiya's father died. Now Samiya says she is just proud to run for her flag. She says, "I don't care if I win right now. But I am happy to represent my country within this big event. . .I think right now I'm sure I'm on my way to a bright future because I can run with many all the way down."
This might not be the only Games you see her in, either. She's got plans, "I don't think it makes a difference whether I win a good title in the coming Olympic Games or the next," she says with a grin.
Watch for Samiya, and other World Class athletes we'll be profiling leading up to the Games, at the opening ceremony of the Olympics.