The four-time Olympic champion says he’s “really proud” of a new BBC documentary titled The real Mo Farahwhich allowed him to “reach out and find out more” about his journey to Britain.
Many prominent figures, including politicians and celebrities, praised Farah’s “strength and bravery” after shocking revelations.
Speaking in the documentary, he said “the truth is I’m not who you think I am”, adding that he needed to tell his real story “no matter what it takes”.
The 39-year-old father-of-four said: “Most people know me as Mo Farah but that’s not my name or it’s not.
“The real story is that 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 UK.
“When I was four years old, my father died during the civil war, you know how we were torn apart as a family.
“I was separated from my mother and brought to the UK illegally under the name of another child called Mohammed Farah.”
With this documentary I was able to reach out and find out more about what happened in my childhood and how I came to the UK. I’m really proud of it and hope you tune in @BBC at 9:00 PM on Wednesday for viewing. pic.twitter.com/rqZe41gFm8
— Sir Mo Farah (@Mo_Farah) July 11, 2022
Sir Mo, who became the first British track and field athlete to win four Olympic gold medals, said his children motivated him to tell the truth about his past.
“Family means everything to me and you know as a parent you always teach your children to be honest, but I feel like I’ve always had that personal thing that I could never be myself and tell what happened on my own matter.
“I’ve kept it for so long, it’s been hard because you don’t want to face it, and my kids often ask, ‘Dad, how did that happen?’ And you always have an answer for everything, but you don’t have an answer for this.
“That’s the main reason to tell my story, because I want to feel normal and … not feel like you’re holding on to something.”
Sir Mo’s wife Tanya Farah said a year before their wedding in 2010 she realized “there was a lot missing from his story” but eventually she “wearied him out with questioning” and he told the truth.
During the documentary, Sir Mo said he thought he was going to Europe to visit relatives and recalled going through UK passport control disguised as Mohammed aged nine.
He said: “I had all my relative’s contact details and as soon as we got to her house the lady took them off me and right in front of me tore them up and put them in the bin and that’s when I realized I was in trouble”.
The sportsman returned to his childhood home in Hounslow, recalling “unpleasant memories” where he was not treated like a member of the family.
This is incredible courage. Unbelievable @Mo_Farah passed Child trafficking is the worst crime. His courage and strength in speaking out should be an urgent incentive for much stronger action to help all victims and stop this horrific crime. https://t.co/0Gzw0QX9i3
— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) July 11, 2022
“If I wanted to food in my mouth it was my job to take care of these 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. If you say something, they will take you away.”
“So she told (me) ‘you don’t talk about anything’ or I was in a lot of trouble and I guess for me the only thing I could do, (it was) in my control, was to run away from this to get out and run away, – he said.
Sir Mo eventually told his PE teacher Alan Watkinson the truth and moved in with his friend’s mother, Kinsey, who “took great care” of him and ended up staying for seven years.
It was Mr Watkinson who applied for Sir Mo’s British citizenship – which he described as a “long process” – and on July 25, 2000, Sir Mo was granted British citizenship.
Sir Mo, who named his son Hussain after his real identity, said: “I often think about the other Mohammed Farah, the boy whose place I took on that plane, and I really hope he is OK.
“Wherever he is, I carry his name and it can cause problems for me and my family.
“It’s important that I can just say, ‘Look, this is what happened’ and be honest.”
In the documentary, the lawyer tells Sir Mo that even though he was trafficked into the country as a child and told the truth to the authorities, there is still a “real risk” of losing his British citizenship because it was obtained by misrepresentation.
But it is understood the Home Office will not take any action against Sir Mo and he will not be stripped of his citizenship.
The department’s guidance makes it clear that a child is not presumed to be involved in the acquisition of citizenship by deception, stating: “If the person was a child at the time the fraud, misrepresentation, or concealment of a material fact (resulting in the acquisition of citizenship) was committed, the officer, who deals with affairs must presume that they were not complicit in any deception on the part of their parents or guardian.’
The documentary ends with Sir Mo talking to the real Mohamed Farr, whose identity he assumed when entering the UK, before adding that Sir Mo will continue to go by the name he was given when entering the UK.
The Real Mo Farah airs at 6am on BBC iPlayer and 9pm on BBC One on July 13.