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It has emerged a Somali Olympic sprinter failed to make the London Games after allegedly dying on a boat on her way to Italy.

According to the Italian daily, Corriere della Sera, Samia Yusuf Omar left Ethiopia last year and managed to reach Libya.

It is thought she hoped to reach Italy and find a coach for the 2012 Games. Omar had previously represented Somalia in the 200 meters at Beijing. Although she came last in her heat, her brave effort won her widespread applause.

Thousands of Africans regularly attempt the treacherous journey in overcrowded boats. Italian officials say at least six thousand people died trying last year.

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