As an aspiring young athlete, Carlton Cole wisely avoided taking on the small boy from Isleworth and Syon School on the track.

While Cole stuck to the 100m and 200m sprints, Mo Farah won every long-distance race there was to win at the London Borough of Hounslow athletics championships.

Both men have since been proved to have made the right choice, with Cole going on to play football for West Ham United and England and Farah famously winning the 5,000m and 10,000m Gold medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

"I went to school in the same Borough as Mo," explained the Hammers No9. "He used to go to Isleworth and Syon and I went to Lampton and then on to Chiswick School, so that's how we know each other.

"We used to go and do Borough athletics and that was based at Feltham Athletics Arena so we always used to see each other.

"We have a mutual friend who is a sprinter called Darren Chin, who doesn't run anymore because he has retired, and that's how we know each other so well.

"Mo is a good friend of mine and I'm just so happy that he did so well and did his country proud at London 2012."

Cole smiles when he remembers watching his old friend in action at the Borough athletics events when the two were teenagers, laughing at the sight of the diminutive Farah streaking away from his rivals.

At the same time, the bigger, stronger Cole was attempting to make his mark as a sprinter - but with markedly less success!

"We were in different events. He was the endurance guy and I couldn't keep up with him! He used to lap people in the first three laps and I used to think 'What on Earth is going on?'.

"I always saw that he had a talent and I am so pleased he has done really well. I saw how hard he worked over the years, so to get the medals that he achieved at the Olympics was brilliant.

"I was a sprinter but I wasn't the fastest. We had some good athletes come out of my area and it was a really good experience to be involved in.

"I've always been into my athletics, anyway, so seeing the Olympics was a brilliant spectacle for me and for everyone involved in West Ham as well because everyone wanted to cheer on Team GB.

"We had the rower Mark Hunter come to visit us last season and everyone wanted to see him do really well. I know Mark was a bit disappointed not to get the Gold, but he still took part and got a Silver medal."

Cole and Farah were reunited when the Somalia-born champion held a charity ball in central London to raise money for his charity foundation.

The Mo Farah Foundation aims to build 50 water wells across Somalia, provide and distribute food and medical supplies to more than 20,000 people, build eight canals and provide livestock and farming tools to ten farms by the end of 2012.

The Hammers star is backing his old friend to meet those ambitions and was delighted to lend his support to the cause alongside Olympic heroes Usain Bolt, Sir Steve Redgrave, Christine Ohuruogu, Colin Jackson and Steve Cram at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

"Basically, Mo has launched a Foundation to provide a lot of wells and farms in Somalia, where his heritage is from.

"He is doing a brilliant job but he needs help to build enough wells to keep everyone going over there.

"He has done a brilliant job and has got a load of celebrities to push it through as well, so he doesn't really need my help with the people he has got behind him!

"Seriously, I am always there to support him in his good deed. It comes from his heart so I'll always be there for him."

For more information about the Mo Farah Foundation, click here.

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