Looking to improve her chances of getting a place in the national squad for the London Olympics she moved to Ethiopia to find a coach.
In 2011 she reportedly made her way to Libya with the plan of getting to Europe to start a new life, Bile told the committee. After a period in prison she was freed and boarded a smuggler's boat with hundreds of other immigrants bound for Europe.
The overcrowded vessel sank on the crossing, however, and Omar died along with uncounted others.
According to Human Rights Watch, about 13,500 people died at sea while trying to reach Europe from North Africa since 1998. At least 1,500 died in 2011 along - the deadliest year so far.
Part of her inspiration was said to be Mo Farah, who was born in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, and moved with his family to Britain when he was eight.
"We are happy for Mo, he is our pride," said Abdi Bile, "but let's not forget Saamiya".
Mo Farah left Somalia aged eight.
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