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Sir Mo Farah hailed 'truly inspirational' by politicians after revealing true identity

Irish Mirror logo Irish Mirror 12/07/2022 Rebecca Calderwood

Sir Mo Farah has been hailed as "truly inspirational" and a "great Briton" after opening up about being trafficked into the UK aged nine.

The four-time Olympic champion, 39, bravely discusses in the upcoming BBC One documentary, The Real Mo Farah, how he was brought to Britain from Somalia illegally.

Sir Mo went on to take the name of another child, after his father was killed in the civil war.

Now, figures from the world of politics have praised the long-distance runner following his revelations.

Appearing on BBC Breakfast, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said: "Heartbroken, painful. I was very lucky that I had my parents with me when we fled Iraq.

“It was difficult, no doubt, I was 11 years old, I didn’t understand why we were fleeing Saddam Hussein, I knew he was a dictator, I knew he was bad.

“All I can say is I salute Mo Farah. What an amazing human being to go through that trauma in childhood, and to come through it and be such a great role model is truly inspirational – and exemplary.”

Similarly, London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted his support for the Olympian.

“Everything Sir Mo has survived proves he’s not only one of our greatest Olympians but a truly great Briton," he wrote.

“@Mo_Farah thank you for sharing your story & shining a spotlight on these awful crimes. We must build a future where these tragic events are never repeated."

Sir Mo Farah is Great Britain's most successful track athlete in modern Olympics history © MDM Sir Mo Farah is Great Britain's most successful track athlete in modern Olympics history

Meanwhile, Labour MP Yvette Cooper tweeted: “This is incredible bravery. Unimaginable what @Mo_Farah has been through. Child trafficking is the worst of crimes.

“His courage & strength in speaking out must be an urgent spur for much stronger action to help all those affected & to stop this terrible crime.”

The athlete’s decision to speak out was branded a “gamechanger” by Lisa Nandy, who added: "I spent a decade working with children who were trafficked to the UK and everything about this is heartbreaking.

“But it could also be a gamechanger so thank you @Mo_Farah for having the courage to speak out.”

Following the shock announcement, Sir Mo said he is “really proud” of the documentary, which enabled him to “address and learn more” about his past and his journey to Britain.

During the documentary, the father-of-four says: "Most people know me as Mo Farah but it’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 UK.

“When I was four my dad was killed in the civil war, you know as a family we were torn apart. I was separated from my mother, and I was brought into the UK illegally under the name of another child called Mohamed Farah.”

The documentary has led a number of other celebrities to speak out in support of the star.

Comedian David Baddiel shared a picture of the pair, writing: “Whether he’s Sir Mo Farah or Hussein Abdi Kahin he’s a hero.”

Sir Mo Farah on his BBC documentary © BBC/Atomized Studios/Andy Boag Sir Mo Farah on his BBC documentary

In addition, Loose Women's Judi Love added: “You just never know what someone is carrying.”

Sir Mo, who became the first British track and field athlete to win four Olympic gold medals, said his children have motivated him to be truthful about his past.

The documentary ends with the athlete speaking to the real Mohamed Farah whose identity he took entering the UK, before adding Sir Mo will continue to go by the name he was given when he entered the UK.

It is understood the Home Office will not be taking any action against Sir Mo and he will not be deprived of his citizenship.

The department’s guidance makes clear it assumes a child is not complicit in gaining citizenship by deception, stating: “If the person was a child at the time the fraud, false representation or concealment of material fact was perpetrated (that led to citizenship), the caseworker should assume that they were not complicit in any deception by their parent or guardian.”

Furthermore, a Home Office spokesperson said: "No action whatsoever will be taken against Sir Mo."

The Real Mo Farah will air at 6am on BBC iPlayer and 9pm on BBC One on July 13.

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