Qatar runner’s historic run to London Games comes to abrupt, heartbreaking end

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 03: Noor Hussain Al-Malki of Qatar pulls up injured in the Women’s 100m Heats on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 3, 2012 in London, England.

LONDON – Noor Hussain Al-Malki created a slice of history on Friday even as she sat on the track at the Olympic Stadium on Friday with her head bowed, tears welling in the corner of her eyes and her teeth gritted from the pain of a pulled hamstring.

The 17-year-old became the first female athlete to compete in an Olympic Games from Qatar, which previously barred women due to religious and cultural protocols.

Al-Malki entered the 100 meters thanks to the wildcard system that offers places to competitors from traditionally weaker Games nations. With a personal best more than two seconds outside the world record, she was not expected to be any kind of a threat.

Sadly, her Olympic adventure lasted just a couple of seconds. As a nervous Al-Malki pushed out of the starting blocks, she immediately clutched at her right leg, wincing in pain. After a couple of steps, she collapsed to the track and stayed there as her fellow competitors sprinted toward the finish line.

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