Four-time British Olympic champion Mo Farah said in an interview with the public broadcaster BBC that he was smuggled to Britain as a child and had to work as a domestic servant.
The 39-year-old endurance runner said that his real name is Hussein Abdi Kahin and that he was named Mohamed Farah by the people who flew with him from Djibouti.
He was nine years old when he was taken from this East African country by a woman he had never seen before, who claimed she was taking him to Europe to see his relatives.
In Britain, he had to look after children in another family and take care of the household in order to get food.
Mo Farah has previously said he came to Britain as a refugee from Somalia with his parents.
In a documentary broadcast by the BBC and Red Bull Studios on Wednesday, he says his parents have never been to Britain and that his mother and two brothers live on a family farm in the unrecognized state of Somaliland.
He lost his father when he was still a small boy, he died in a shootout. When Farah was eight or nine years old, he was taken away from home to live with another family in Djibouti.
In the first years after his arrival in Britain, the family he served did not allow him to go to school. He got into it when he was 12 years old and performed in it as a refugee from Somalia.
A gym teacher helped him escape from a family that used him as a servant, who informed the social authorities about his case, and they placed him with Somali foster parents. In 2000, the promising athlete, who later became a six-time world champion, received British citizenship under the name Mohamed Farah.
Farah said he wanted to publish his story to change the public’s perception of people smuggling and slavery. “I had no idea there were so many people who were going through the same thing as me. It just shows how lucky I was,” he said.
“What really saved me was what I was different about. And that was that I could run,” added the athlete, who won Olympic gold medals in both the 5- and 10-kilometer races at the London 2012 Games and four years later in Rio de January.