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Farah on Farah

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Photo by Erik van Leeuwen.

When I watch Mo Farah breaking records and winning gold, a heated debate takes place in my small brain attic and I cannot decide which of my two competing emotions I must privilege: the emotion of total personal joy, which I share with his family, his close friends, his fans and ‘his’ adopted nation – Britain – and the emotion of unadulterated sorrow, which I feel for his and my country of birth and its people. I wish he were wholly ours; that we, Somalis, had invested in him, invested in his training and had given him all that which have made him a winner.

Nuruddin Farah’s most recent novel, Crossbones, and is published by Riverhead in the US and Granta in the UK.

Comments (33)

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  1. herenorthere

    Wed Aug 08 11:29:11 BST 2012

    I can't think of another athlete who seemed so happy just to be there, he looked so relaxed before the race. I think with Mo, it would have been equally brilliant to have seen him win the 10,000m in Somali or GB colours. Either way, a wonderful moment.

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  2. Sinibaldi

    Tue Aug 07 16:42:05 BST 2012

    Un silencio rosado.

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  3. Rocketz

    Tue Aug 07 18:16:51 BST 2012

    When you think about the dreadful state of athletes, courts, conduct, sponsorship, etc. that cripples the aspirations of these athletes, you start asking yourself what comes first, nationality or sport. Of course sport is gendered and political in ever sense. I personally disagree with Farah's choice of flags (none for the sake of sports), but he surely has his reasons. On the other hand, let us not forget that these Olympics brought participation from women from every delegate. Also, the Lybian delegate carried its post-Gaddafi flag for the first time in an event of such scale. Last but but not least, and in line with froufoxy (see above), it seems that the colonial machine is still very much alive and the ease at which immigrant sportsmen get their share of the "white dream" compared to thousands of rejects is one solid proof. Athletes brought from the far away lands quench the thirst of those longing for a long gone "greatness" that bases itself on hypocrisy and double standards.

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    Sometimes, in a fit of anachronism, I think the colonialists main objective was to procure high performing athletes.

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