Book of the week - Twin Ambitions: My Autobiography by Mo Farah

 

The celebrity-memoir season is in full swing, as ever offering an alternative to humorous socks or bath accessories when it comes to Christmas presents.

Football dominates the sporting best-sellers list, but slotted in behind Sir Alex Ferguson, Harry Redknapp and David Beckham comes Mo Farah, one of the heroes of Britain’s Super Saturday at the London Olympics, before going on to complete the double double by winning the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at this year’s World Athletic Championships in Moscow.

His journey from a small town in Somaliland to the pinnacle of his sport has been well chronicled, but hearing his story in his own words gives it added immediacy and emotion. Central to his life has been the loss he felt when he moved to England aged eight, while for complicated family reasons his twin brother, Hassan, was left behind. They were not to see each other for nearly 12 years, and he obviously still feels the pain; he ends the book by saying: “I have this dream that when I stop running, Hassan will be there. His family next to my family.”

He also reveals that his cheeky-chappy image conceals a fiercely competitive character, not afraid to use his fists. He was constantly scrapping when he started school in Hounslow, and as recently as 2009 got involved in a bizarre fight when out on a Christmas-Day training run after a father pushing a baby buggy consistently refused to move over to let him through.

Fortunately for Farah, he had an inspirational PE teacher who patiently guided him towards fulfilling his talent, a fact Farah gratefully acknowledges. Yet it is interesting to see how he steadily took more control of his destiny as he matured; crucial factors in his success, such as going to train in Kenya and switching to Alberto Salazar as his coach, were his own choices.

When he retires from competition Farah says he looks forward to playing football again and spending more time watching his beloved Arsenal. But first he plans to tackle the marathon. Given how far he has come already, don’t bet against him becoming a world-beater at that distance as well.

Published in hardback by Hodder & Stoughton, £20

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test