Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

58. Nagmeldin Ali Abubakr

Age: 22

Nagmeldin Ali Abubakr is a 400m runner from Nyala, in the western Sudanese district of Sudan, who won the world youth championships in Canada in 2003. He is a sergeant in the Sudanese army, and a member of the Zaghawa tribe, one the ethnic groups of Darfuris that rose up against the Sudanese government in 2003, sparking the civil war that has killed 200,000 and made refugees of 2.5 million more. Abubakr and his teammates have to fight attempts to bar all Sudanese from the Games, as well as indifference and lack of resources in their own country. Their kit is donated by a British charity, they train in a stadium in Khartoum that is only half-finished, and to build their strength, they lift weights made out of concrete blocks attached to metal poles.