London Spy

British medal hopes: Mo Farah (athletics)

London Spy

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Farah flying the flag for Team GB

Over the past six years Somali-born distance runner Farah has transformed from an also-ran on the world stage into a big-name, gold medal-winning athlete.

Back in 2007 such a status looked unlikely. He finished sixth in the 5,000 metres at the World Championships in Japan and then failed to qualify for the final of the same event at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

The following year brought further frustration, with Farah coming seventh in the 5,000m at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.

However, the tide turned and Farah's undoubted potential began to blossom in 2010, when he won the 5,000m and 10,000m at the European Championships in Barcelona, becoming only the fifth man to do the double at the championships.

Spurred on by this success, he made the bold decision to relocate to the United States to train under a new coach. The move paid dividends at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, where Farah finally confirmed his status as one of the best distance runners on the planet.

He was narrowly edged into second place in the 10,000m after succumbing to a surge from Ethiopia's Ibrahim Jeilan in the final few metres. However, Farah showed tremendous character to return a week later and win the 5,000m, becoming the first British man to win a world title at the distance.

He retained the 5,000 gold medal in Helsinki in June - and if Farah can continue to build his irresistible momentum ahead of London 2012, he will be among the favourites for Olympic glory in both the 5,000m and 10,000m.

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Five Mo Farah facts:

Farah was identified as a talent by his PE teacher, who bribed him into running sessions in Feltham with the promise of half an hour of football afterwards

Had he not moved to Britain, he would have been eligible to represent Britain anyway through his dad

Farah was criticised for prematurely celebrating his latest European crown with the 'Mobot' which he created on a TV show with James Corden

His daughter, with wife and PR manager Tania, is named Rhianna

The Mo Farah Foundation is setting up programmes to help with emergency response, water and sanitation, health, medical, livelihood and education provision in East Africa

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