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Mohamed Muktar Jama Farah or “Mo”as we all know him received his knighthood from the Queen this week for services to athletics.
Mo Farah was born on the 23rd March 1983 in Mogadishu, Somalia. Not many people know but Mo is actually a twin, his twin brother is called Hassan. Due to fighting in war torn Somalia, Mo and his family moved to Djibouti. Mo, Hassan and the other Farah siblings were looked after by their grandparents. Mo’s father was working at Heathrow airport. Mo is reluctant to release information about his early childhood and doesn’t talk about how he came to England but what is known, is at the age of 8 he arrived in England hardly able to speak any English. Due to his lack of English Mo always seemed to struggle at school but he excelled in sport. His first passion was football and he is still a huge Arsenal fan and had dreams of being a professional footballer. However when he was 14 he was selected to go to the British Olympics Futures camp in Florida. Initially Mo found it hard to get a visa to go and how different things may have turned out if he hadn’t got the visa and therefore been unable to attend.
Aged 15, Mo won the English Schools cross country Championship and in 2001 he won the 5000m at the European Junior Championships. He gradually began to gain recognition with a string of titles. He won the 5000m and 10000m golds at the European Championships, which were held in Barcelona, Spain. In 2011, the World Championships were held in Daegu in South Korea. Farah won the 5000m but had to settle for silver in the 10000m final. 2012 was an amazing year for him as he took both the 5000m and 10000m gold medals at the London Olympic Games. He became a household name at these games and children and adults could all be seen doing the Mobot, his signature move.
At the World Championships in 2013 (Moscow) he took both 5000m and 10000m gold medals as he did again in 2015 (Beijing). In between he he won the same titles in 2014 at the European Championships in Zurich. At the Rio Olympics in 2016 he once again won two gold medals and became only the second person ever, behind Finland’s Lasse Viren, to win these two events in consecutive Olympic Games. At the World Championships in 2017, back in London, he was able to take the gold in the 10000m but due to a tightly bunched field he had to settle for silver in the 5000m.
Mo Farah has now retired from track racing and is concentrating on marathon running. He was awarded a CBE in 2013 and then his Knighthood in November 2017.
His tally of medals is absolutely phenomenal:
Olympic Games 4 gold
World Championships 6 gold 2 silver
European Championships 5 gold 1 silver
European Indoor Championships 2 gold
European Cross Country 1 gold 3 silver 1 bronze
Mo has often said that being brought up in poverty pushed him and inspired him to reach his goals. He has been heard to say “It made me realise in life, you have to work for it” and he has. In the July 2013 issue of Healthy he said his favourite expression was “Go hard or go home” and we think this is such a positive attitude. Mo has hoped that he can inspire others to follow their dream showing them that if you work hard then you can achieve.
Mo has spent many years away from his family at high altitude training camps. Mo and his wife Tania have four children Rhianna, Aisha, Amani and the only boy Hussein. Mo dedicates many of his wins to his family and often celebrates with his wife and children on the track, sometimes taking them on his victory lap.