Olympic champion Mo Farah is revealed to have arrived in the UK illegally under a false name

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In a BBC documentary airing next Wednesday, athletics star Mo Farah is revealed to have arrived in Britain aged 9 illegally, under a false name, to work as a domestic worker.

“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 I was brought to the UK illegally under the name of another child called Mohamed Farah,” said the British athlete in an interview which will be broadcast on Wednesday July 13 on the BBC. Mo Farah, four-time Olympic champion in athletics, reveals in a documentary that he arrived in Britain illegally under a false identity before being forced to work as a servant in a family.

Farah said he was given Mohamed Farah’s name by a woman who brought him to the UK, telling him he would join relatives there from East African country Djibouti when he was nine respond.

“I knew I had a problem”

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.

When he arrived in the country, the woman accompanying him grabbed the paper with the contact details of his relatives, “tore it up and put it in the trash”, Farah said. “At that moment, I knew I had a problem.”

The first British athlete to win four Olympic gold medals, he also said he had 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 says.

Confidence in a teacher

One day, he finally revealed the truth to his physical education teacher, Alan Watkinson, who had noticed his mood swings as soon as he revealed himself on the track. He then went to live with the mother of a “friend” who “really took care” of him.

“The only language he seemed to understand was that of physical education and sport”, attests Alan Watkinson. “The only thing I could do to get away from this (situation) was to get out and run,” Farah says.

Watkinson then applied for British citizenship for the athlete, who was finally granted it on July 25, 2000.

Secret unveiled

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’m telling my story, because I want to feel normal and not feel like I’m clinging to anything,” he said.

Farah, who called her son Hussein in reference to 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 going well”.

With AFP


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