LONDON | 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 the United Kingdom illegally under a false identity before being forced to work as a servant in a family. /strong>
“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 United Kingdom illegally under the name of another child called Mohamed Farah”, explains the quadruple Olympic champion in an interview which will be broadcast on Wednesday on the BBC. /p>
Farah, now 39, says in this interview that he received Mohamed Farah's name from a woman who brought him to the UK – telling him he would join relatives – from Djibouti, an East African country, at the age of nine.
The athlete, author of the 5,000m/10,000m double at the London Olympics in 2012 and 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.
“Don't say anything”
“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 United Kingdom,” Farah continues.
He had previously explained that he was born in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia, and arriving in Britain in 1993 aged 10 with his mother and two of his siblings to join his computer scientist father.
Upon his arrival in the country, the woman who accompanied him took the paper on which appeared the contact details of his relatives, “tore it up and put it in the trash”, says Farah. “At that point I knew I had a problem.”
Farah, the first Briton to win four Olympic titles in athletics, also says he was forced to clean up and s take care of other children in a British family if he wanted to “have something to eat”.
“If you want to see your family again one day, don't say anything”, he was told .
Confidence in a teacher
He eventually 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 “really looked after” him.
“The only language he seemed to understand was that of physical education and sport”, testifies Alan Watkinson. The professor then applied for British citizenship for the athlete, who was finally granted it on July 25, 2000.
Lawyers have warned Mo Farah he could have his British citizenship withdrawn with his revelations of 'false statements'.
'No prosecution will be brought against Sir Mo Farah and to suggest otherwise is false' , the Home Office told AFP.
“I salute Mo Farah, what an incredible human being to have survived this trauma as a child and to have become such a model”, reacted the minister of Finance Nadhim Zahawi, who fled Iraq as a child.
“We need to build a future where this kind of thing no longer exists,” said Labor Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, as the British government plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda as part of its anti-terror policy. against immigration.
Farah returned to Somalia in 2003 and later established a foundation with his wife to build wells and provide food and medical aid in Africa.
Six-time world champion, he became a huge star in the United Kingdom by achieving his double at the London Games in 2012, 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 inspired him to reveal the truth about his past.
“Often my children asked questions (…). And you always have an answer for everything, but you don't have an answer for that.”
Farah called her son Hussein in reference to his real name.
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7128