Double Olympic champion Mo Farah has revealed he was detained by customs officials on a recent trip to the United States, under suspicion of being a terrorist.
Farah, who was born in Somali but moved to the United Kingdom as a young boy, was held by border control as he returned to the USA – the country where he now lives and trains – over Christmas.
The runner attempted to show the two Olympic medals he won at London 2012 as evidence of his true identity, but claimed they did not prove sufficient as officials continued to hold him.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Farah told the Sun on Sunday. “Because of my Somali origin I get detained every time I come through US customs.
“This time I even got my medals out to show who I am, but they wouldn’t have it.”
It was a slight sour note for Farah, who was in buoyant spirits after discovering he had been awarded a CBE by the Queen in the New Year Honours list.
“I’m blown away. I’m honoured,” said Farah. “For me, 2012 is done and it’s time to look ahead. But I’ll never forget what everyone in Team GB achieved.”
He added: “It’s been a big year. But the best way to end it is with the ones I love.”
Farah has previously had problems with US authorities over his background, having initially experienced issues with his residency permit to live in Portland, where he and his trainer Alberto Salazar have worked together since the start of 2011.
Attempting to return to the US from Canada, Farah said that he was told his family were under investigation as a terrorist threat, and would have to stay out of the country for 90 days.
The matter was eventually resolved by an FBI friend of Salazar’s, who was able to clear up the misunderstanding.
“God knows what would have happened if he didn’t. We’d probably still be in Toronto,” said Farah.