Sprinter Mariyam Ru’ya Ali has been selected to represent the Maldives at the World Athletics U20 Championship, scheduled from 27 to 31 August in Lima, Peru.

As the fastest Maldivian athlete in her age category, Ali, whom the Bank of Maldives awarded a sports scholarship, stands poised to compete against the world’s best young athletes. Her training took her to Jamaica last year, where she honed her skills alongside some of the sport’s finest. The 19-year-old made history as the first Maldivian woman to complete a 100-metre sprint in under 12 seconds.

Last year, at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) All-Comers Meet, Ali set a new national record by finishing the 100-meter sprint in 00:11.87 seconds, surpassing her previous record of 00:12.02 seconds set just months earlier.

However, this isn’t Ali’s first appearance on the international stage. In 2022, she represented the Maldives at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom. In March 2023, Ali also set a new national record in the 200-meter race at the MVP Velocity Fest 14 in Kingston, Jamaica, with a time of 25.11 seconds.