Olympic Legend Mo Farah Reveals He Was Trafficked to U.K. at Age 9
Sir Mohamed “Mo” Farah is detailing the dark truth about his upbringing.
In a clip from the upcoming BBC One documentary The Real Mo Farah, the four-time Olympic gold-medalist, 39, reveals that his real name is Hussein Abdi Kahin and he was taken from his family in his native Somaliland at age 9 and trafficked to England.
“Despite what I’ve said in the past, my parents never lived in the U.K. When I was 4, my dad was killed in a civil war,” Farah says.
“As a family, we were torn apart. I was separated from my mother and I was brought into the U.K. illegally, under the name of another child called Mohamed Farah.”
While looking at a copy of the visa forged for his entry into the country, which bears his assumed name, Farah admits he does “wonder what is Mohamed doing now.”
“From that moment, coming in, [I had] a different name, a different identity,” he says. “I know I’ve taken someone else’s place.”
Though he consults a lawyer in the documentary over potentially losing his citizenship because it was obtained through fraud, England’s Home Office said that “no action whatsoever will be taken against Sir Mo” as he was a child and therefore not complicit, according to The Telegraph.
Farah recalls his mother sending him and his twin brother Hassan to live with his uncle in the nearby Djibouti for their own safety after their father was killed, per The Washington Post.
The long-distance runner says that a woman often visited to observe him before he was told she would be taking him to Europe to live with relatives. There, he was allegedly forced to live in domestic servitude for her family.
“From day one, what the lady did wasn’t right. I wasn’t treated as part of the family,” he recalls. “If I wanted food in my mouth, my job was to look after those kids, shower them, cook for them, clean for them, and she said, ‘If you ever want to see your family again, don’t say anything or they will take you away.’
Often I would just lock myself in the bathroom and cry,” Farah adds.
Farah was able to escape after he confided in his PE teacher, Alan Watkinson, about his circumstances. He was then placed with his school friend’s mom Kinsi Farah, where he lived happily for the next seven years.
He was ultimately reunited with his birth mother, Aisha, in 2000 after her friends in the Somali community recognized him on TV.
Farah, who now has four children of his own with wife Tania Nell, says he named his son Hussein to honor his roots.
The Real Mo Farah debuts Wednesday, July 13 at 9 p.m. on BBC One.