|Hassan Farah (Left) and Mo Farah (Right)|
The twin brother of Britain’s Olympic gold medal hero Mo Farah has spoken for the first time about how they were torn apart as boys amid the chaos of civil war in Somalia.
In a heartbreaking story of a childhood fractured by violence and turmoil, Hassan Farah has revealed he and Mo had such a close bond that they slept in the same bed and shared food from the same plate.
The pair were so strikingly similar that teachers and even friends confused one for the other.
Mo Farah's twin brother Hassan is pictured doing the 'Mobot' outside his home in Hargeisa, Somaliland
Hassan grew up amid dust and poverty in the African state of Djibouti which borders Somalia, and has watched without bitterness or resentment as his brother, who excelled on the sports fields of England, became a world-class athlete.
Mo has rarely spoken about his family back in Africa. But The Mail on Sunday tracked Hassan down to his modest home in Hargeisa, northern Somalia, last week.
Mo Farah was sent to England with his two older brothers to live with their father, while Hassan stayed behind
It was midnight before well-wishers stopped calling at Hassan’s door to share their excitement and joy at the town’s famous son.
Yesterday, still celebrating and still wearing his white Team GB jersey, Hassan spoke about the extraordinary events that tore him and his brother apart.
|Hassan Farah pictured in the market in his home town of Hergeisa in Somaliland|
‘When Mo was sent away I was left with an empty space in my heart. That space has never been filled, but he is still somewhere in my heart and I know I am in his’. ‘Like many Somali families we were torn apart by war. In my case it felt more tragic than most. I feel I lost the other half of myself, my twin brother’.
The Akal (hut) former home of Olympic golden boy Mo Farah in the village of Iranka Deriynka
Hassan believes they can never make up the lost years spent apart, but it is telling that when Mo triumphed with gold in the 10,000m, his brother was one of the first people he called.
Hassan said: ‘He told me, “Pray for me, my brother. I have great hopes that I can win a second gold. It is what I’ve waited for all this time”.’
The twins’ father is Muktar Farah. He had left Somalia as a young man and settled in London where he worked as an IT consultant. During a holiday visit to his homeland he married Amran – and decided to stay. They made a life together in Mogadishu and already had two sons and a daughter when the twins arrived.
Mo Farah and wife Tania are expecting twin daughters - younger siblings for daughter Rihanna
|Mo Farah and wife Tania are expecting twin daughters - younger siblings for daughter Rihanna|
For Mo and Hassan’s parents the disintegration of their country after 1990 meant harsh and agonising decisions. Hassan recalled: “We were small and there was shooting and killing every day near our home. We knew our father was going back to England to try to make a family home for us there, and our mother was taking our brothers back to her home village in the north”.
Mo Farah's sister Nimo is pictured carrying her two-year-old son who has polio
‘They sent us, and our older sister Ifrah, to live in Djibouti with our grandmother so that we could have a peaceful childhood. For Mo and me, it was enough that we were staying together.’
The boys’ maternal grandmother had settled in a poor suburb of Djibouti city. The monsoon blows all year in a climate officially described as torrid. From October to April the average temperature is 37C (98F).
Hassan said: ‘We were sporty kids, Mo and me. But it was too hot; too hot to do almost anything. We played football in the streets and we ran around a lot, playing chase and always beating the other boys.
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