Somalian citizens on Monday united in praise for the country’s first ever non-runner Olympian, Ramla Ali, who despite defeat in her featherweight boxing bout against Romania’s Claudia Nechita, has become the country’s symbol of hope and resilience.
Ali, Somalia’s first ever Olympics boxer, suffered a unanimous decision loss to Nechita, but left an indelible mark in the hearts of her country’s men and women.
To many people in the Horn of African nation, the 31-year-old was not just in Tokyo to compete in the boxing competition. To them, her presence at the Olympics was proof that their dreams are valid despite the challenges they face.
As a child, Ali and her family fled war-torn Somalia as refugees following the killing of her brother.
Her family settled in London, where she got into boxing secretly for fear her family would disapprove of the sport for a Muslim girl.
Over the years, she rose from the secret trainings to become a professional boxer. Her progress has been rapid; she’s signed to Anthony Joshua’s 258 Management label, and is trained by husband Richard Moore and Clayton at the BoxClever Gym in Ladbroke Grove, London.
Ahead of the Tokyo games, Ali said her qualification was the result of a decade-long preparation, and that she would “put my professional boxing career on hold whilst concluding the final part of this story and represent my country at the games.”
After her loss on Monday, Somalis flooded social media with messages of congratulations to their heroic boxer, others urging her to keep on training in order to return to the next Olympic Games.
Here are some of the messages posted on Twitter;
We are prows of you Ramla. You touched the whole nations heart. You are a winner in the eyes of each one of us. #RamlaAli
— abdalla kassim (@kassimjr18) July 26, 2021