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Mo Farah is a British long-distance runner and four-time Olympic gold medalist, however, most recently, he’s come forward to reveal his life, much like his name, is not his own.
“From that moment, coming in, [I had] a different name, a different identity. I know I’ve taken someone else’s place.”
In a BBC documentary titled The Real Mo Farah, he speaks candidly about his childhood and the improbable journey it took to get where he is today. Farah states he was trafficked from Somalia to the United Kingdom when he was a child and forced into servitude for a London family. He also revealed his real name is not Mo Farah.
“Most people know me as Mo Farah,” Farah told BBC. “But that’s not my name or it’s not the reality. The real story is I was born in Somaliland, north of Somalia as Hussein Abdi Kahin. Despite what I’ve said in the past, my parents never lived in the U.K. When I was four, my dad was killed in the Civil War.”
He continued, “As a family, we were torn apart. I was separated from my mother and I was brought into the UK illegally, under the name of another child called Mohamed Farah.”
UK will not challenge Sir Mo Farah’s citizenship.
Legally, the U.K. government can revoke citizenship if it is obtained illegally. However, the BBC reported that a Home Office official confirmed, ahead of the documentary’s release, it would not take action over Farah as “it is assumed children are not complicit when their citizenship is gained by deception.”
Per ESPN, Farah said: “It makes me relieved. “This is my country. If it wasn’t for [my physical education teacher] Alan and the people who supported me throughout my childhood, then maybe I wouldn’t even have the courage to do this.
“There’s a lot of people that I owe my life to — particularly my wife, who has been very supportive throughout my career, and who gave me the strength to come and talk about it, telling me it’s okay to do this.”
Granted citizenship in the U.K. in 2000, Farah represented Great Britain in three straight Summer Olympics starting in Beijing in 2008. In the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Farah won gold in the 5,000 meter and the 10,000 meter races. In 2017, he was granted knighthood by Queen Elizabeth.
How did it all happen?
Previously, Farah said he came to the U.K. from Somalia with his parents, however, this was untrue.
At the age of eight or nine years old, he said he was taken to stay with a family Djibouti and then to taken to the U.K. by a woman who told him that he would be staying with relatives. In reality, he was given fake travel documents and the name of another child, Mohamed Farah. He was then transported to a London home to do housework.