Olympic champion Mo Farah reveals he arrived in Britain under a false identity

Olympic champion Mo Farah reveals he arrived in Britain under a false identity


Mo Farah, quadruple Olympic champion in athletics under the British banner, reveals in a documentary, broadcast Wednesday July 13 on the BBC, to have arrived in Great Britain illegally under a false identity before having been 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 I was brought to the UK illegally under the name of another child called Mohamed Farah”, said the British athlete in this interview. Farah said he was given the name Mohamed Farah by a woman who brought him to the UK – telling him he would join relatives there – from the east African country of Djibouti when he was nine year.

The athlete, now 39, said he was actually named 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, which is not recognized 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 continued.

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”, Farah related. “At that moment, I knew I had a problem.”

The first British athlete to win four Olympic gold medals, he also said he was forced to do housework and look after other children with a family in Britain if he wanted “to have enough to eat”. “If you want to see your family again one day, don’t say anything”, he heard himself say. “Often I would lock myself in the bathroom and cry,” he confides.

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 there and run.”

Farah Mohamed, quadruple Olympic champion athlete

at the BBC

Watkinson then applied for British citizenship for the athlete, who finally obtained it on July 25, 2000. The Olympic champion explains that it was his children who encouraged him to reveal the truth about his past. “I kept it for so long, it was difficult because you don’t want to deal with it and often my children would ask questions (…). And you always have an answer for everything, but you don’t have no 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. Farah, who called her son Hussein after his real 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.”

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