“The truth is, I’m not who you think I am. Most people know me as Mo Farah, but that’s not the reality. » This is how Mo Farah, four-time Olympic athletics champion, reveals in a documentary that he arrived in the United Kingdom illegally under a false identity.
“I was separated from my mother, and I was illegally brought in under the name of another child called Mohamed Farah”explains the British athlete in an interview which will be broadcast on Wednesday July 13 on the BBC.
The man who was Olympic champion in the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters events, in 2012 and then in 2016, says that he had received the name of Mohamed Farah from a woman who had brought him to the United Kingdom – telling him that he would join relatives there – from Djibouti, an East African country, at the age of 9.
His name is Hussein Abdi Kahin.
The 39-year-old athlete, whose father was killed in Somalia when he was 4, says his real name is Hussein Abdi Kahin. His mother and two brothers live in the separatist region of Somaliland, which is not recognized by the international community.
“The real story is that I was born in Somaliland, in northern Somalia, as Hussein Abdi Kahin. Despite what I have said in the past, my parents never lived in the UK”he details.
On 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 Mo Farah. “At that moment, I knew I had a problem. »
Mo Farah, the first British athlete to win four Olympic gold medals, also says he was forced to do housework and care for other children in a family in Britain. “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”he confides.
“I often think of the other Mohamed Farah”
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 “am I”who happened “really busy” from him.
“The only language he seemed to understand was that of physical education and sport”says Alan Watkinson. “The only thing I could do to get away from this [situation] was to get out and run”says the athlete. Alan Watkinson then applied for British citizenship for Mo Farah, who obtained it on July 25, 2000.
The athlete explains that it was his children who encouraged him to reveal the truth about his past. ” [Ce secret,] i kept it for so long it was hard because you don’t want to deal with it and often my kids 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 shouted.
Mo Farah, who called her son Hussein, referring to his real first name, concluded: “I often think of the other Mohamed Farah, the boy whose seat I took on that plane, and I really hope he is well. »