Sir Mo Farah ‘grateful to be able to embrace UK’ after revelations about past
ir Mo Farah has said he is “relieved” the Home Office will not take action against him after he revealed he was trafficked into the UK, adding: “I’m just grateful for every chance I’ve got in Britain to embrace my country.”
The four-time Olympic champion, 39, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he has no desire to contact the woman who brought him illegally to the country as a child.
He reveals in a BBC documentary, being broadcast on Wednesday night, how he was brought from Somalia illegally, having assumed the name of another child, after his father was killed in the civil war.
He was later helped to obtain UK citizenship by his school PE teacher Alan Watkinson, while still using the name Mohamed Farah.
Speaking to journalist Amol Rajan alongside his wife Tania, Sir Mo said: “It makes me relieved. This is my country.
“If it wasn’t for Alan and the people who supported me throughout my childhood then maybe I wouldn’t even have the courage to do this.
“There’s a lot of people that I owe my life to, particularly my wife who has been very supportive throughout my career, and who gave me the strength to come and talk about it, telling me it’s okay to do this.”
Speaking about other victims of child trafficking, he added: “No child wants to be in that situation. I had the choice made for me, and so young.
“I’m just grateful for every chance I’ve got in Britain to embrace my country, and I’m proud to represent my country the way I did.
“That’s all I could do within my control – I had no control when I was younger over where I went. That decision was made for me and taken away from me.”
Asked what happened to the woman who brought him to the UK, Sir Mo added: “The production team contacted the lady but she didn’t want to give anything and that’s all I know.”
On whether he is in contact with her, he said: “No, I’m not in touch with her and don’t want to.”
Sir Mo described the wave of support following his announcement as “incredible”.
He added: “It was always my story. I wasn’t even comfortable enough to talk about it with my family. I couldn’t talk about it publicly.
“It has taken me a long time to come to this, but I’m glad I’ve made this documentary to show people the reality of what really happened to me as a child.”
His wife Tania said she had experienced a “whole range of emotions” after hearing about his true past.
She said: “My first reaction was heartbreak and sadness for him. I just immediately pictured nine-year-old Mo and being so helpless and vulnerable.
“Then equally I felt angry at the people that did that to him, that put him through that.”
She said her husband is now “finally giving himself permission to feel those feelings of hurt and pain”, and she described the documentary as a “form of therapy”.
The Metropolitan Police has said it is “assessing” Sir Mo’s allegations that he was trafficked into the UK as a child and forced to work as a domestic servant.
The force said in a statement: “We are aware of reports in the media concerning Sir Mo Farah.
“No reports have been made to the MPS (the Metropolitan Police Service) at this time.
“Specialist officers are currently assessing the available information.”
Sports presenter Gary Lineker was among those praising Sir Mo ahead of the documentary airing.
He tweeted: “Incredible story. Will definitely be watching tonight.”
The Real Mo Farah will air from 6am on BBC iPlayer and at 9pm on BBC One on Wednesday.