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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Jasmine Allday

Mo Farah's teacher shares 'bombshell' moment the athlete confided in him about past

Sir Mo Farah's PE teacher has shared the "bombshell" moment he found out about the athlete's past.

The Olympian, 39, shared his harrowing childhood and true identity this week, revealing he had been trafficked to the UK when he was nine and brought under a false identity to work as servant.

Born as Hussein Abdi Kahin in Somaliland, it was his PE teacher Alan Watkinson who helped to save him, discovering his talent for running and that's what kickstarted his career.

He was also the one who a young Mo confided in about being trafficked to the UK.

In a chat on ITV's Good Morning Britain on Thursday, Alan explained how Mo had come to him via another child as his English was poor and he was unable to explain what had happened.

Mo Farah's teacher Alan Watkinson appeared on Good Morning Britain today (ITV)

"It is a big moment for a teacher. With the profession, the most important thing is that you're teaching the child and your subject is secondary to that child. The child is the person that matters most," he said.

Host Ben Shephard then noted how Mo had come to speak to Alan via another student as his English was poor.

Asked about that moment, Alan shared: "Kids regularly ask for a minute of your time, and you start to think what may it be and you start to speculate and there's just no way I would have guessed that. Maybe naivety as a young PE teacher. It was a real bombshell."

Alan explained how he had seen a different side of Mo in his PE classes.

"In PE and sport he came alive, because that was the one way he could express himself and that was the one enjoyment he had. I saw a very different side to him than the other people saw. He was quite aggressive in his first year at school; he had no access to the curriculum because he couldn't speak the language. He had a real difficult time," he shared.

Alan also explained some of Mo's friends were concerned about him making the revelation.

Mo and Alan are now great friends (Rowan Griffiths)

He added: "It was an interesting moment because I know a lot of his friends were saying to him, 'Are you sure, do you really want to do it? Can't you just leave it alone; you've got a really nice life.

"This could cause you all these problems'. I talked to Mo, I listened to him. I knew he had to do it."

In his BBC documentary, Mo explained how he was ready to tell his "real story".

"The truth is I’m not who you think I am. And now, whatever the cost, I need to tell my real story," Mo said, "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. As a family we were torn apart.

"I feel like I’ve always had that private thing where I could never be me and tell what’s really happened."

He kept the secret for decades, but says it's now the time to speak as he wants to "feel normal" rather than "holding on to something".


"If I wanted food in my mouth my job was to look after those kids, shower them, cook for them, clean for them, and she said, 'If you ever wanna see your family again, don’t say anything,'" he said, "Often I would just lock myself in the bathroom and cry."

Alan was someone Mo felt he could trust and he was shocked to learn the truth.

He said: "Mo told me he wasn’t the son of the person he was living with – that his name wasn’t Mohamed Farah, [and that] he was removed from his family, that he was given a new identity and brought here to do jobs and chores. That was quite shocking to hear."

The Home Office has confirmed it will not take any action after Mo's revelation.

Alan and Mo looking at documents regarding the latter's British citizenship (BBC/Atomized Studios/Andy Boag)

A Number 10 spokesman said: "He is a sporting hero, he is an inspiration to people across the country. It is a shocking reminder of the horrors that people face when they are trafficked.

"And we must continue to clamp down on these criminals who take advantage of vulnerable people."

When asked if the Home Office would be taking action against the athlete, he said: "Absolutely not. I think the Home Office has been very clear that no action whatsoever will be taken against Sir Mo and that is in line with the guidance."

Farah is Britain's most successful track athlete in modern Olympics history (AFP via Getty Images)

And Mo says he is very "relieved" no action will be taken.

"This is my country, if it wasn’t for Alan (Watkinson) and the people that supported me throughout my childhood then maybe I wouldn’t even have the courage to be doing this," he shared.

"There’s a lot of people that have been very supportive, particularly my wife, throughout my career and gave me the strength to come and talk about it and telling me it’s ok to do this."

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