Team Mo Farah get ready for Somali joy
When a Conservative MP derided Danny Boyle's Olympics opening ceremony as "multicultural crap" he was met with a cascade of criticism from people who knew that he could not be more wrong.
Tomorrow, their point will be driven home when Mo Farah, the Somalia-born British long-distance runner, steps up at the Olympic Stadium, cheered on by two countries of fans. Farah, 29, will compete in the men's 10,000-metre final – an event he took the silver medal in at last year's World Championships and for which he holds the European track record. It will mark the culmination of an extraordinary journey from the streets of Mogadishu.
Farah's story serves as an inspiration, both in his country of birth, where his charity, the Mo Farah Foundation, feeds thousands left hungry by the famine, and in the UK.
"Mo means so much to young Somalis," said Yussef Ahmed, the co-ordinator of Islington Somali Community Group. "Somalis usually come to the UK as refugees and their biggest concern is how to settle with a different culture and language. It can be difficult and many young Somali men lose their self-esteem and some turn to crime and anti- social behaviour. But in the past five years things have begun to improve – and Mo has been a part of that. He has been a role model."
Farah was brought to England at the age of eight by his father. At 11 he moved to Feltham Community College, where his talent was spotted early on by his PE teacher, Alan Watkinson, who recalls meeting the ungainly boy who could only speak a few words of English.
"He was clearly extremely talented. He had a huge stride length and an effortless running style," Mr Watkinson told The Independent.
"Young Somalis think 'I could do that'," said Mr Ahmed. "He represents everything that they might achieve in any walk of life."
Leicester vs Arsenal match preview: Calm Calum can be an Arsenal star for years to come, says Per Mertesacker
Tottenham vs Liverpool preview: Spurs ready to press their case for Reds revenge
Burnley vs Manchester United match report: Louis van Gaal still winless after goalless draw at Turf Moor
Liverpool vs Tottenham match preview: I'll get best out of Mario Balotelli, says Brendan Rodgers
Everton vs Chelsea player ratings: Who was best in the nine-goal thriller at Goodison?
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Argentina may change its capital city from Buenos Aires, says president
- 3 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 4 The 3D-printed key that can unlock anything
- 5 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward