• Athletics

Farah 'heartbroken' by twin separation

ESPN staff
October 7, 2013
Farah was Britain's hero at London 2012 © Getty Images

Great Britain's gold medal hero Mo Farah has described the heartbreak of being separated from twin brother Hassan for 12 years.

Farah, who turned 30 in March, became an Olympic legend at the London Games last year when he won both the 5,000 and 10,000 metre finals.

But in extracts from his autobiography, currently being serialised in the Telegraph, Farah reveals the difficulties of having to leave his "twin brother and best friend" in Somalia when he moved to England.

"The truth is this," he writes, "the original plan was for all of us to travel to England as a family."

"But shortly before we were due to fly, Hassan fell ill. We couldn't cancel or change our flights because there were five of us booked on that plane and that would have meant losing an awful lot of money.

"It was decided that my mum, [younger brothers] Ahmed, Wahib and me would fly to London while Hassan recovered with our extended family in Djibouti. The plan was always to go back and get Hassan after the rest of us had settled down.

"I was consoled by the fact that we wouldn't be away from each other for very long - a couple of months perhaps. Had I known how many years would pass before I'd see him again, I would have been heartbroken. But as far as I knew, Hassan falling ill was a temporary hitch."

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Farah and his family moved to west London, where they moved in with his father, Mukhtar, who was later to return to Somalia to fetch Hassan.

"Dad returned to Djibouti to bring back Hassan and reunite the family. But after a fortnight he returned home empty-handed. I was devastated.

"Years later, I discovered that when dad had arrived in Djibouti, Hassan was nowhere to be found. The extended family he'd been staying with had left the city. Dad just wasn't able to locate him.

"Two weeks passed and he couldn't put off coming back to the UK any longer. He had a job and a family to support. So he reluctantly gave up the search.

"As a young kid, and not understanding the situation fully, I blamed my dad for not bringing Hassan back with him. In my mind, he was responsible for why I wasn't reunited with my brother. I began to resent my dad. I missed Hassan daily."

Twelve years later, the twins were finally reunited when Mo flew to Somalia to attend Hassan's wedding, having spent months saving the £500 needed for the air fare.

"It's hard to describe the joy of that moment. It felt like a part of me had been missing the whole time I had been growing up separately from Hassan.

"The way I see it is, we're not different people - we're part of the same person. At last, the void in my life was gone.

"I have this dream that when the races are done and I stop running, Hassan will be there. His family living next to my family. His kids playing with my kids."

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