Farah's Iconic Gold Is A Landmark For A New Britain

by Isa Guha »

As I watch from my hotel room in Dubai I am filled with immense pride as Team GB dominate in the medals table. The television channels haven’t provided me with much coverage but my Arabic is certainly improving. I’ve primarily relied on internet commentary, visiting English bars or Skyping home to watch it on television there. From what I have seen it has been a Games to remember.


Jess Ennis, the poster girl of the Olympics, with the weight of a nation upon her shoulders soaked up the atmosphere on her way to glory. Katherine Grainger won her first gold after three successive silvers.


Greg Searle came back from retirement at the age of 40 to compete against the world’s best.


Kate Walsh, GB hockey captain, was injured in her first game, spent the night in hospital, had a metal plate fitted in her jaw and ran onto the pitch six days later.


Andy Murray, who is yet to win a Major, fought off Djokovic and Federer to win gold. Michael Phelps rewrote history as the greatest ever Olympian with 22 medals.


There are many more exceptional stories that can only add to the intrigue and admiration which surround each and every athlete and that is what makes the Olympics so special. There is one story, however, that I have a particular affinity to.


Immigration had been the subject of ongoing debate in England for decades. Partly a repercussion of granting independence to various colonies after the rule of the British Empire, we are a country that has welcomed many with open arms.


Talks suggest that it is coming back to bite us in the backside with the fact that skilled jobs are being saturated leaving nothing for the ‘true’ British. Mohamed Farah and his family fled to England as refugees after the Somalian civil war began.


They were welcomed with the opportunity to start a new life away from arguably one of the most war torn countries in the world. To win an Olympic gold in 10000m was the surely the biggest repayment he could ever make.


My parents also came here in search of a better life along with many other colonial families in the 1970s. I have always been questioned as to where my loyalties lie and I will always say here because this is where I was born and bred. For many Asians who have been brought up in this country it is rare for them to support England in any sporting clash between them and their homeland.


Choosing this country inevitably meant I would be criticised for losing my roots. The reality is that I am grateful for any opportunities I was given and feel that I was able to give back in some way to the nation that offered me so much.


Playing cricket at the highest level for a decade filled me with tremendous pride and to do it for England made it even more special. Saying that, I still have a bond with India for providing a home for my grandparents and so have never lost sight of where I originated from. They migrated during a religious war in what is now known as Bangladesh, just before partition in 1947. I have visited Kolkata regularly over the years to see my family and I still appreciate and respect the values that my parents grew up with. Something a lot of the younger generation has lost in India itself.


One of this country’s greatest assets is the fact that we have the ability to be part of an integrated society which is becoming increasingly greater. To me, Mo’s gold medal represents so much more. It represents GB at it’s best. A nation that is open to all.



Isa Guha is a former England cricketer who now presents ITV4's overage of the IPL and is represented by Total Sport Promotions Ltd -www.totalsportpromotions.com  


By Isa Guha