LONDON (AP) — Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah says he was illegally brought to the U.K. as a young boy and forced to care for other children before he escaped a life of servitude through running.
In a new documentary, Farah says his real name is Hussein Abdi Kahin.
He said he was taken from the East African nation of Djibouti.
The BBC reports the athlete said he was 8 or 9 years old when a woman he didn’t know brought him to Britain using fake travel documents that included his picture alongside the name Mohammed Farah.
He said he wasn't allowed to enroll in school until he was 12 years old. That's when he took an interest in his P.E. class and began running as an outlet.
"The only thing I could do to get away from this [living situation] was to get out and run," Farah says, according to the BBC.
Farah eventually told his P.E. teacher about his background. The teacher reportedly contacted social services and Farah was placed with a foster family.
That move allowed Farah to excel and pursue his passion for running.
"I still missed my real family, but from that moment everything got better," he said.
Farah would go on to win four Olympic gold medals and six world championships.