So, what you’re saying is she can’t actually run!
Yes, it’s true. Somalia has suspended Nasra Abubakar Ali who finished last in the 100m at the World University Games in China.
Apparently, the problem is, she’s “not actually a runner“.
Completing the 100m race in a leisurely 21.81 seconds – a full 10 seconds behind the winner – she was immediately suspended, with the shocking revelation that she’s “not actually a sports person, nor a runner”.
It’s a mind-boggling story, the kind that makes you scratch your head and think, “you can’t make this stuff up.”
Yes that is her in the top left corner…
What’s the problem? People have been overstating their abilities for decades.
Now, you may wonder, “what’s the big deal?” After all, aren’t we living in a world where people overstate their abilities all the time?
In the midst of our disbelief and chuckles over Nasra’s case, there lies an uncomfortable truth, a parallel to a phenomenon that I see unfolding daily in another arena: the job market.
Before you jump to conclusions, no, I’m not comparing Nasra to every job seeker out there. The majority of candidates are dedicated, competent individuals.
But, like in any other area of life, there are a few who, perhaps out of desperation or overconfidence, might stretch the truth about their abilities or experience.
So what's the big deal?
When a company hires based on an overstated resume, they’re essentially getting a ‘slow sprinter’ – someone who, despite their confident stride at the starting line, might not be able to keep up with the pack.
Ah yes, and what about the case of Thamsanqa Jantjie! Quite an infamous incident that again brings to light the issue of overstating abilities, but on a significantly larger stage.
Jantjie, who was tasked with providing sign language interpretation for dignitaries like President Obama at Mandela’s Memorial, turned out to be signing complete gibberish.
In many ways, the ‘fake’ sign language interpreter debacle is another parallel to those situations where individuals misrepresent their skills in the job market.
It’s not just that they land in roles they can’t handle, but in doing so, they also deny opportunities to others who are actually qualified and eager to excel.
In Jantjie’s case, the misrepresentation resulted in a major communication failure at an international event, and probably caused considerable embarrassment and frustration for the deaf community who were relying on his interpretation.
Both these cases – Nasra and Jantjie – serve as stark reminders that truth-stretching in any field does not just affect the individual involved but can have broader implications that affect many others.
It underscores the importance of honesty, authenticity, and appropriate skill assessment in every professional endeavour.
72% admit to lying on their CVs.
As the CEO of Perspectv, an AI-driven talent matching app, I’ve seen it all.
From the candidates who apply for roles they’re clearly not equipped for, to the ones who claim to be ‘experts’ in areas they’ve barely touched upon.
It’s a predicament not too dissimilar to Nasra’s race, except here, the stakes involve livelihoods, business growth and the dynamics of entire teams.
In the end, the Nasra incident underscores a universal lesson that extends well beyond the running track: honesty and self-awareness are key, not just in sports, but in our careers as well.
The moral of the story here is that we all need to stop running races that we’re not meant to be in and start taking the time to train for the ones we could actually win.