LONDON – Mo Farah, the four-time British Muslim Olympic champion, is to be knighted in a New Year honors list, that includes more than 100 of his fellow Olympic and Paralympic medalists.
“I’m so happy to be awarded this incredible honor from the country that has been my home since I moved here at the age of eight,” Farah told The Telegraph.
“Looking back at the boy who arrived here from Somalia, not speaking any English, I could never have imagined where I would be today – it’s a dream come true.”
Farah, 33, became Britain’s most successful track and field athlete when he won his third and fourth gold medals in Rio for the 5,000m and 10,000m.
Winning gold in 10,000m and 5000m races, Farah cemented his place as one of Britain’s greatest athletes with his double success four years ago.
Repeating the feat in 2012 and 2016, he became one of the world’s most successful distance runner in terms of major medals.
He was also awarded a CBE after winning two gold medals at the 2012 London games.
He is now a nine-time global champion, moving him above Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele.
Sir Mo described his knighthood as an “incredible honor” and thanked the British people for the support they have given him ever since he arrived from Somalia as an eight-year-old.
“I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to race for my country and win gold medals for the British people, who have been my biggest supporters throughout my career. My successes have only been possible because of their support,” Farah said.
Farah had already achieved the World Championships ‘double double’, successfully defending his 10,000m and 5,000m titles in Beijing last year.
For many, Farah’s prayer can help counter the damaging stereotypes of Muslims held by many around the world, with his Muslim faith being central to his excellence in sport.