Sir Mo Farah: The truth is I’m not who you think I am
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The Olympian has been hailed as one of Britain’s greatest long-distance runners and was even knighted – all with a name and history that was not his. The four-time Olympic gold medal winner explains in the documentary how he received the name ‘Mohammed Farah’ and the mystery woman that reconnected him with his mum.
Sir Mo, whose real name is Hussein Abdi Kahin, previously said he and his family came to the UK from Somalia as refugees when he was around eight or nine.
In actuality, his parents had never been to the UK and he only realised his mother was still alive when he was nearing his 20s.
Sir Mo was working in a Somalian restaurant in West London when a woman approached him claiming to know his mother.
She gave him a photograph of his mother as proof and a cassette tape she had asked to be passed onto him which had her number on the side.
His mother, Aisha, commented in the documentary: “A mother and child are never distant except in death but I had a motherly urge to find him and I was made aware he was in the UK.”
She recalled the first moment of reconnection when Sir Mo called her: “I had been helpless for 10 years, more than 10 years.
“When I heard him I felt like throwing the phone on the floor and being transported to him from all the joy I felt. The excitement and joy of getting a response from him made me forget everything that happened.”
She added that when Sir Mo brought his son to visit Somaliland during filming of the documentary: “Never in my life did I think I would see you or your children alive.”
Sir Mo was just an ordinary four-year-old in Somalia when his world would be changed forever.
The country was rife with civil violence as the breakaway state Somaliland struggled for its independence.
Sir Mo’s family, including his twin brother Hassan and father Abdi Kahin, were living on a farm in one of the war-torn areas.
He says in the documentary: “We were just out on the farm, a normal day. My dad went to look after cattle and never came back.”
A “massive bazooka shot” had been fired and sent shrapnel shooting across the land, a piece of which hit Sir Mo’s father in the head.
After his father’s death, his mother sent him and his twin to live with their uncle in Djibouti.
She explained the heartbreaking reason behind the move: “We were living in a place with nothing, no cattle and destroyed land. We all thought we were dying. I sent you away because of the war.
“I sent you off to your uncle in Djibouti so you could have something.”
Sir Mo would go to his uncle and was told he would be going to the UK, but that his name would change when he was there.
Unfortunately, one person who was not informed of the change of plans was Aisha.
She shared: “No one told me. I lost contact with you, we didn’t have phones, roads or anything. There was nothing here.
“I knew you left but I had no idea where you were exactly.”
His twin brother Hassan would not make it on the flight to the UK, explaining: “They told us that night we would all go together. When I went to sleep they put you on the train. When I woke up you had already left.”
Sir Mo would endure confusing hardships once in the UK, living with strangers in a life of domestic servitude.
The athlete has said he blocked out the experience for years and continued with the lie, especially as he would soon start his journey to the Olympics in his teen years.
Now, the 39-year-old has revealed everything in his new documentary which is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
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