Mo Farah reveals that he arrived in the UK with a false identity

Published on 07/12/2022 08:41


London, United Kingdom- Mohammed Farah, the king of the athletics track, who was awarded for his Olympic achievements by the Queen of England, has revealed in a documentary that he came to Britain illegally with a false identity, and was then forced to work as a domestic servant for the family.

“The truth is I’m not who you think I am. Most people know me as Mo Farah but that’s not true. I was separated from my mother and brought to Britain illegally under the name of another child named Mo Farah,” the four-time Olympic gold medalist explains in an interview that will be shown on by the BBC on Wednesday.

Farah, now 39, says in an interview that he was named Mohammed Farah by a woman who forced him to travel to Britain, and explained that he would meet relatives from Djibouti, an East African country, when he was nine years old.

The athlete, who won the 5,000 and 10,000 m races at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics, reveals that his real name is Hussein Abdi Kahin. His father was killed in Somalia when he was four years old.

His mother and two brothers live in the breakaway region of Somaliland, which is not recognized by the international community.

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– “Don’t say anything” –

“The truth is that I was born in Somaliland, northern Somalia, with the name Hussein Abdi Kahin. Despite what I said before, my parents never lived in the UK,” adds Farah.

Until now, he said he was born in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, and came to Britain in 1993, aged 10, with his mother and two brothers to join his computer technician father.

Upon his arrival in Israel, the woman who accompanied him took the paper with his relatives’ address on it, “tore it up and threw it in the trash,” according to Farah. “At that moment I knew I would have problems.”

Farah, the first Briton to win four Olympic titles in athletics, says he had to clean the house and look after other children in a British family if he wanted “something to eat”.

They told him: “If you want to see your family again, don’t say anything.”

“Many times I would lock myself in the bathroom and cry,” he said.

– the teacher’s trust –

One day, he eventually revealed the truth to his physical education teacher, Alan Watkinson, who noticed changes in his mood when he was on the track. He then went to live with the mother of a “friend” who he “really cared about”.

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“The only language he seemed to understand was physical education and sport,” says Alan Watkinson. “The only thing I could do to escape this situation was to get out and run,” says Farah.

The teacher then applied for British citizenship for the athlete, which he finally received on July 25, 2000.

Lawyers have warned Mohammad Farah of risking having his British citizenship revoked after his “false statements” were exposed. But the British Home Office announced on Tuesday that the Olympic champion would not be tried in Britain.

The spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior told the French news agency that “no legal proceedings will be opened against Sir Mou Farah and the suggestion otherwise is not true.”

“We have to build a future where this kind of thing no longer exists,” said London’s Labor mayor Sadiq Khan, as the British government plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda as part of its anti-immigrant policy.

Farah returned to Somalia in 2003 and later established a foundation with his wife to build wells and provide food and medical care in Africa.

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“I realized that I can’t live here, and that if I stay I won’t be the athlete I am,” he explained in 2007, a year after he won silver in the 5000 m run at the European Championships.

A six-time world champion, he became a huge star in Britain, especially after the London 2012 Olympic double, which he repeated four years later in Rio. He then moved on to road racing, but with less success, although he did win the famous Chicago Marathon in 2018.

The athlete explained that it was his four children who pressured him to reveal the truth about his past.

“I hid it for a long time, it was difficult, because you didn’t want to deal with it and my children often asked me questions (…). And you always have an answer for everything, but not for this,” he explains.

“This is the main reason I’m telling my story now,” he says, “because I want to feel like a normal person and not someone who’s hiding something.”

Farah, who named her son Hussein in honor of her true identity, concludes: “I often think of the other Muhammad Farah, the boy whose identity I carried on this plane, and I hope he is okay.”


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