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Samia Omar, the displaced but determined Olympic athlete who drowned trying to cross the Med

Living in a country rocked by war and unable to train, Omar attempted to reach Europe by boat to secure a trainer and a chance at her Olympic dream

Heather Saul @heatheranne9 9 hours ago13 comments

Samia Omar in 2008 at the Beijing OlympicsGetty Images

Ten athletes made history on Friday evening as they walked onto the stage at Rio's Maracanã Stadium to represent the first everrefugee team. Their stories are stories of survival, including the remarkable teenage swimmer who swam for three hours in open water to stop a boat carrying 20 from capsizing.

But Samia Omar, an Olympian sprinter who had once competed for her home country, Somalia, could not be among the athletes representing their countries. She drowned while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea in 2012, aged 21.

Omar ran the 200-metre race in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, one of only two people chosen to represent a country rocked by conflict. The 17-year-old lived in the capital of Mogadishu and had left school to care for her five siblings while her mother worked.