Mo Farah, a British runner, says he was sold as a child.
Farah, who has won four gold medals at the Olympics, said this in a documentary. British officials said that it wouldn't make him lose his citizenship.
Mo Farah is the first British track and field athlete to win four gold medals at the Olympics. He said that he was brought to the UK under a false name when he was a child.
Farah is one of Britain's most famous athletes. The shocking news changed his life story in a big way. It also made people wonder about his citizenship in a country where fights over immigration have become a very divisive issue in recent years.
"Most people know me as Mo Farah, but that's not my name or the truth," he said in a BBC documentary that will come out on Wednesday.
"The real story is that I was born as Hussein Abdi Kahin in Somaliland, which is north of Somalia. "Despite what I've said in the past, my parents never lived in the U.K.," Farah said in clips from the documentary that were released on Monday.
Farah, who is 39, has said before that he and his parents came to Britain as refugees.
He said that telling his story put his citizenship at risk, but the British government quickly let him know that he had little to worry about. In a statement released on Tuesday, a Home Office spokesman said that Farah would not be punished and that anyone who said otherwise was wrong.
The government says that children are not responsible for fraud or false statements made by their parents or guardians.
Alan Briddock, a lawyer who spoke with Farah for the documentary, said that Farah probably wouldn't lose his citizenship because he was trafficked as a child and told the authorities about it.
In the documentary, Farah said that after his father was killed in Somalia's civil war, he was split up from his family. He came to Britain with a woman when he was 9 years old, but he was given the name of another child, Mohamed Farah. He thought he was going to stay with family, but instead he was forced to work in a house.
"I had all of my relative's contact information, but when we got to her house, the woman took it from me, ripped it up in front of me, and threw it in the trash. That's when I knew I was in trouble," he said.
"If I wanted to eat, it was my job to take care of those kids, give them baths, feed them, and clean up after them," Farah said. "And she said, 'Don't say anything if you ever want to see your family again. If you say anything, they'll take you away.'"
Farah told his gym teacher, Alan Watkinson, who he really was when he went to school years later. He was given to the mother of a friend.
With the help of Watkinson, Farah was given British citizenship in July 2000 under the name Mohamed Farah. He went on to become one of the most famous athletes in Britain.
Farah, a long-distance runner, won two gold medals in the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter races at the 2012 London Olympics. Four years later, at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, he won gold in both races, even though he had a scary fall in the middle of the 10,000.
In 2017, Farah was given the title of "Sir" by Queen Elizabeth II.
Since he took a short break from track and field in 2017, he has run in major marathons. In 2018, when he won the Chicago Marathon with a time of 2 hours, 5 minutes, and 11 seconds, he set a national record.
Farah just said that he will run the London Marathon on Oct. 2, 2019. This will be his first marathon since 2019.