Mo Farah is a British long-distance runner who is a four-time Olympic gold medalist and one of the most celebrated and beloved athletes in Great Britain. But, throughout his time in the public spotlight, there’s two things he hasn’t made known to the public, until now.
One: he was trafficked from Somalia to the United Kingdom when he was a child and forced into servitude for a family in London. Second, his real name is not Mo Farah
“Most people know me as Mo Farah,” Farah told BBC. “But that’s not my name or it’s not the reality. The real story is I was born in Somaliland, north of Somalia as Hussein Abdi Kahin. Despite what I’ve said in the past, my parents never lived in the U.K. When I was four, my dad was killed in the Civil War.”
Farah shared this news in the BBC documentary The Real Mo Farah which details his childhood, his journey from Somalia to the U.K. and what led to him becoming an acclaimed long-distance runner for the country where he was a servant for so many years.
Scheduled to air Wednesday, BBC shared clips from the documentary where Farah shared the shocking revelation.
In the clip, he also shared that his mother and two brothers live in Somaliland.
In the past, Farah said he came to the U.K. from Somalia with his parents, but that was never true. At the age of eight or nine years old, he said he was taken to stay with a family Djibouti and then to taken to the U.K. by a woman who told him that he would be staying with relatives. In reality, he was given fake travel documents and the name of another child, Mohamed Farah. He was then taken to a London home and told to do housework.
From the Associated Press:
The woman took him to an apartment in west London where he was forced to care for her children, Farah said. He wasn’t allowed to go to school until he was 12.
“I wasn’t treated as part of the family,” Farah said. “If I wanted food in my mouth, my job was to look after those kids — shower them, cook for them, clean for them.”
Granted citizenship in the U.K. in 2000, Farah represented Great Britain in three straight Summer Olympics starting in Beijing in 2008. In the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Farah won gold in the 5,000 meter and the 10,000 meter races.
In 2017, he was granted knighthood by Queen Elizabeth.