Meet Zamzam Farah: the Olympian who became an asylum seeker

Thomas Triebel

In 2012 Zamzam Farah was one of only two Somali athletes in the London Olympic Games, five years later she is about to run her first London marathon.

Farah was the flag-bearer for Somalia in 2012 and ran the 400m race. After receiving death threats following her success as an athlete she decided to seek asylum in the UK.

“In Somalia, people don’t understand sport and don’t like it that much especially for women,” Farah explained.

“It was scary and hard to train there and do what you wanted.”

Zamzam Farah ran the 400m during the 2012 London Olympics. (AFP/Getty Images)

Farah initially moved in with one of her cousins, but things didn’t go as planned.

She risked becoming homeless and in 2014 moved into a hostel.

“Being here all lonely was the toughest thing in my life”, she says.

While staying at the hostel she discovered The Running Charity, a non-profit organisation that helps homeless youths through sport.

The former Olympian described the charity as “life changing”.

Watch the video above to hear her story.

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