Book Review

Mo Farah lays bare secrets behind historic Olympic feats

My Autobiography by Sir Mo Farah.
My Autobiography by Sir Mo Farah. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Mo Farah needs no introduction. Sir Mohamed Muktar Jama Farah was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II a year ago. Farah is constantly racing competitively against Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes, or living in Iten and Kaptagat for his high-altitude training, but mostly for smashing records. In 2012, a night dubbed Super Saturday, Farah went on to seize 10,000m Olympic gold, adding another gold to his collection seven days later in the 5,000m final.

Twin Ambitions is a book by a twin, Mo, also a father of twins, who won the coveted 5,000 and 10,000m double at the London Olympics in 2012, and repeated this feat in Rio four years later, making him a British national treasure. Twin Ambitions is a book chronicling Farah’s journey from Somalia, the country of his birth, to where he is now.

He moved to Britain when he was eight, getting separated from his twin brother Hassan, unable to speak English and constantly getting into trouble until his PE teacher at Feltham Community Alan Watkinson pushed him to use the energy in running.

He also narrates how due to poor English, he would misunderstand instructions, run the wrong way, get back on track and still come first.

Farah writes about how he learned about running from Kenyan runners; following their strict regime of training, eating right, getting proper sleep and rest, improving his gait, speed and technique. Farah lived with famous Kenyan athletes and world record holders at the PACE house in Teddington.


He competed with Bernard Lagat, Edwin Soi, Moses Masai, Mark Kiptoo to mention but a few. He pens about his relationship with coaches, including the controversial Alberto Salazar, as well as his reasons for working with them.

Twin Ambitions is immensely inspirational and well written, in a simple manner. Anyone can read it. It is got suspense in all the right places, will inspire you to want to do better, be better.

It will make you realise that, like all sports, athletics is not easy, you need discipline. It is painfully gritting, every second counts and the sacrifices are always all worth it in the end, when at the pinnacle of the sport or career, surrounded by family. It is no surprise that Farah is a huge football fan.

He is a diehard Arsenal supporter and hopes to go back to soccer once done with competitive racing, as well as giving back through the Mo Farah Foundation.

Twin Ambitions is a book about Farah’s ‘twin-ning’ and winning ways. It is also littered with photographs chronicling his racing career and paints a reflection of his mental strength, necessary in staying focused to pursue his goals despite shortcomings and disappointments.

Twin Ambitions is a simple book, but it will make you think.