Sports

British athletics star Mo Farah reveals his past as an illegal migrant and slave



Mo Farah, king of the athletics tracks knighted by the Queen of England for his Olympic exploits, reveals in a documentary that he arrived in Great Britain illegally under a false identity before being forced to work as a servant in a family.

“The truth is, I’m not who you think I am. Most people know me as Mo Farah, but that’s not the reality. I was separated from my mother, and brought to the UK illegally under the name of another child called Mohamed Farah”explains the quadruple Olympic champion in an interview which will be broadcast on Wednesday July 13 on the BBC.

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Farah, now 39, says in this interview that he received Mohamed Farah’s name from a woman who had brought him to the UK – telling him he would join relatives there – from Djibouti, the country from East Africa at the age of nine.

“At that moment, I knew I had a problem”

The athlete, author of the double 5,000 meters – 10,000 meters at the London Olympics in 2012 then Rio in 2016, reveals that his name is actually Hussein Abdi Kahin. His father was killed in Somalia when he was four years old. His mother and two brothers live in the separatist region of Somaliland, unrecognized by the international community.

“The real story is that I was born in Somaliland, northern Somalia, as Hussein Abdi Kahin. Despite what I have said in the past, my parents never lived in the UK”

He had previously explained that he was born in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia, and arrived in Great Britain in 1993 at the age of 10 with his mother and two of his brothers and sisters to join his computer scientist father.

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Upon his arrival in the country, the woman who accompanied him took the paper on which appeared the coordinates of his relatives, “torn up and put in the trash”says Farah. “At that moment, I knew I had a problem”.

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” Do not say anything “

Farah, the first Briton to win four Olympic titles in athletics, also says he was forced to do housework and look after other children with a British family if he wanted to. “to have something to eat”. “If you want to see your family again one day, don’t say anything”he heard himself say.

“I often locked myself in the bathroom and cried. »

One day, he finally revealed the truth to his physical education teacher, Alan Watkinson, who had noticed his mood swings whenever he was on the track. He then went to live with the mother of a ” friend “ who happened “really busy” from him.

“The only language he seemed to understand was that of physical education and sport”testifies Alan Watkinson. “The only thing I could do to get away from this (situation) was to get out and run”, says Farah. The professor then applied for British citizenship for the athlete, who was finally granted it on July 25, 2000.

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Farah returned to Somalia in 2003 and later set up a foundation with his wife to build wells and provide food and medical aid in Africa. “I realized that I couldn’t live there anymore, that if I had stayed, I wouldn’t be the runner that I am”he explained in 2007, a year after his international podium on the track (silver out of 5,000 at the European Championships).

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Six-time world champion, he became a huge star in Great Britain by achieving his double at the London 2012 Games, then repeating it four years later in Rio. He then converted to the road, but with less success, despite success at the famous Chicago Marathon in 2018.

The athlete explains that it was his four children who prompted him to reveal the truth about his past. “I hid it for so long, it was hard because you don’t want to face it and often my children would ask questions […]. And you always have an answer for everything, but you don’t have an answer for that”.

“That’s the main reason I tell my story, because I want to feel normal and not feel like I’m clinging to anything” he shouts.

Farah, who called her son Hussein after his real name, concludes: “I often think of the other Mohamed Farah, the boy whose seat I took on this plane, and I really hope he is well”.



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