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Aquil Abdullah

Full name: Aquil Hashim Abdullah (Shumate-)
Gender: Male
Height: 6-1.5 (187 cm)
Weight: 183 lbs (83 kg)
Born: June 20, 1973 in Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Affiliations: Potomac BC, Washington (USA)
Country: USA United States
Sport: Rowing


In 2000 Aquil Abdullah won the Diamond Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta, making him the first black person to win a title at Henley. Abdullah was born Aquilibn Michael X. Shumate but his father converted to Islam when Abdullah was 6-years-old and changed his name and his son’s name. Abdullah was a high school football star and then attended George Washington University where he obtained a degree in physics in 1996. He was US singles sculls champion in 1996 and 2002. He also won the 1999 Pan American Games trials in singles and won a silver medal at the 1999 Pan Ams. Abdullah competed at the World Championships in 2001, 2002, and 2004, all as a sculler. At the 2004 Olympics, Abdullah rowed double sculls, becoming the first African-American male to compete in rowing at the Olympics for the US – [Anita DeFrantz] (1976) and [Patricia Spratlen] (1984) had previously been on the women’s Olympic rowing teams.

Abdullah was featured in a 2003 New York Times article, not long after the 2001 9/11 attacks, concerning his difficulty flying because of his name. He was frequently profiled and detained because of his name and his presumed religion. Once, asked which mosque he attended, he replied, “I’m not a member of any mosque. I’m Catholic, actually.” Abdullah settled in Boston where he worked as a consultant and software engineer, and started Mandela Crew, which exposes minority youths to rowing.


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
2004 Summer 31 Athina Rowing Men's Double Sculls United States USA 6

Men's Double Sculls

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Partner Phase Unit T
2004 Summer 31 Athina Rowing United States USA Henry Nuzum Final Round A Final 6:36.86
2004 Summer 31 Athina Rowing United States USA Henry Nuzum Semi-Finals Heat One 6:14.69
2004 Summer 31 Athina Rowing United States USA Henry Nuzum Round One Heat Two 6:52.34
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