Monday, August 20, 2012
He has forged a successful career amid the chaos and poverty of wartorn Somalia, but Hassan Farah cannot help wonder what might have been.
Hassan watched the television coverage with pride as identical twin brother Mo became a legend by scooping two Team GB golds on the running track at London 2012.
His sensational victories in the 5,000m and 10,000m – and trademark 'Mo-bot' celebration – have put Farah on course to earn millions of pounds in lucrative sponsorship deals.
Mo Farah's twin brother Hassan is pictured doing the 'Mobot' outside his home in Hargeisa, Somaliland
Mo Farah was sent to England with his two older brothers to live with their father, while Hassan stayed behind
Hassan Farah pictured in the market in his home town of Hergeisa in Somaliland
Hassan – who was also a gifted runner – was separated from Mo as an eight-year-old and is left to wonder what he could have achieved in athletics if he hadn't been forced to stay behind in the lawless East African country. The 29-year-old twins were separated in 1991 when their parents made the agonising decision for Mo to join his father as an asylum seeker in Britain.
Despite the grinding poverty Hassan has become a successful telecommunications engineer with a wife and five children, and a comfortable home.
Hassan grew up amid dust and poverty and has watched without bitterness or resentment as his brother, who excelled on the sports fields of England, became a world-class athlete.
'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,' said Hassan, who for years clung to false assurances that he would follow Mo to Britain.
'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.
'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.'
Mo's phenomenal success followed years of rigorous training, after he was recognised as a major talent by his PE teacher.
He has been back to Somalia once, in 2003, but Hassan has never visited England.
Their mother Amran said: 'I would love to see my twin boys together again, of course I would.
'I can't talk about what happened all those years ago, I would just like to see them getting together at last.'
The Akal (hut) former home of Olympic golden boy Mo Farah in the village of Iranka Deriynka
Mo Farah's sister Nimo is pictured carrying her two-year-old son who has polio