For Mo Farah, thanks to years of hard work and training, life is now a runaway success.Hassan Farah, identical twin brother of Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah Photo: ohn McLellan / Mail on Sunday / Solo Syndication
By Stephen Adams
Sunday, August 26, 2012
He has met the Prime Minister, made friends with Usain Bolt, and has just signed a six-figure sponsorship deal with Virgin.
But the double Olympic gold medallist also has an identical twin, who would sometimes beat him in races as they ran barefoot through the dusty Somalian streets.
Now Hassan Farah has revealed his pride - and a touch of heartache - at watching his brother capture the hearts of two nations, after winning first the 10,000m and then the 5,000m at the London Olympics.
The pair were separated at the age of eight, when their parents faced the unenviable dilemma of which of their six children would join their father in England and which would stay in the war-torn East African country.
Muktar Farah, their father, could only support three of them on his IT consultant salary. Mo went and Hassan stayed.
Although Hassan has made a decent life for himself and his family as a telecomms engineer in Somalia, he wondered if he too could have achieved his brother’s greatness if he had been allowed to board the plane to Heathrow as a boy in 1991.
Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, which tracked him down, he said: “Mo and I were on a par as runners.
“Sometimes I would beat him as we chased each other around, sometimes he would beat me.
“But now he has had the most technically-advanced training and advice available in the world, with top running tracks and gyms to work in, and I have had nothing.
Mo Farah and his twin brother Hassan Farah
“Who knows what I could have become? We could have been famous twin Olympic athletes.
“I couldn’t help thinking about that when I was watching him in the races on television. But he’s my brother, I love him and I rejoice in his great successes.”
When Mo left, Hassan was assured that he would join his twin soon. But that day never came and it was 12 years before they saw each other again, when Mo returned to the country of his birth.
Hassan recalled that, like many identical twins, they shared everything as children.
He said: “We shared food from the same plate, we shared a bed and we played and studied together. There is a special love between twins that is different from other sibling love.”
Mo’s departure left “an empty space in my heart”, he said
“That space has never been filled, but he is still somewhere in my heart and I know I am in his.”
Tellingly, Hassan was one of the first people who Mo called when he won the 10,000m.
Mo has launched a charity to help people facing starvation and disease in East Africa, the Mo Farah Foundation.
He has also helped to directly support his family in Hargeisa, in remote northern Somalia, buying a tractor for his older brother Faisal.
But his sister Nimo said life was hard for all of them there, saying: “We hope Mo’s success will mean he can help us.”
The runner’s mother, Amran, hopes her world-beating son will visit soon. She told the newspaper: “I am so full of pride I feel I could burst with happiness.”
She agreed that Hassan had also been a good runner.
“He just didn’t have the same opportunities,” she said.
Source: The Telegraph