Sunday 30 April 2017

Olympian Farah 'relieved' after UK exemption

Olympian Mo Farah. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Olympian Mo Farah. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Steve Douglas

Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah said he was "relieved" he can return to his US home after it was clarified that President Donald Trump's travel ban did not apply to him.

Somali nationals are among those banned from travelling to the US under the executive order issued on Friday.

That had applied to Farah (33), who was born in Somalia, and the athlete called Trump's policy "divisive and discriminatory".

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson held conversations with the US government late yesterday and was told by some of Donald Trump's closest advisers that British citizens will be allowed to continue to travel from the UK to the US.

The Foreign Office then advised British travellers that dual citizens were only affected if travelling to the US from one of the seven banned countries.

A spokesperson for Farah, who has lived in Oregon for six years with his family, said that they were happy with the clarification.

"We understand from the statement released by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that the executive order will not apply to Mo, and we are grateful to the FCO for urgently clarifying the situation," they said.

"Mo is relieved that he will be able to return to his family once his current training camp concludes."

The statement added that Farah "still fundamentally disagrees with this incredibly divisive and discriminatory policy".

Earlier he wrote on Facebook that the temporary travel ban leaves him unsure whether he can return to his US home.

"On January 1 this year, Her Majesty the Queen [of England] made me a knight of the realm. On January 27, US President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien," Farah said in his statement.

"It's deeply troubling that will have to tell my children that Daddy might not be able to come home - to explain why the president has introduced a policy that comes from a place of ignorance and prejudice.

"I am a British citizen who has lived in America for the past six years - working hard, contributing to society, paying my taxes and bringing up our four children in the place they now call home. Now, me and many others like me are being told that we may not be welcome."

Farah is currently training in Ethiopia. His wife, Tania, and four children are in Portland, Oregon, where the Farah family have lived for the past six years.

Anger and dismay rippled across the world as politicians reacted to the entry ban.

Theresa May arrived back in Britain to a storm of fury over her refusal to condemn Donald Trump's widely-criticised ban on refugees entering the US.

Conservative MPs joined the attacks on the prime minister after she refused to speak out about the controversial move and one Tory said he would be hit by the ban.

Labour said it should "sadden" the country that Mrs May had failed to condemn the move and the Liberal Democrats said her behaviour was "shocking". Mrs May does "not agree" with Mr Trump's order and will challenge the US government if it has an adverse effect on British nationals, a spokesman said.

Irish Independent

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