Pres­sure was tough: Yousif

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - SPORT -

ADOPTED Teesside run­ner Rabah Yousif ad­mit­ted he nearly buck­led un­der the pres­sure as he helped de­liver a Bri­tish bronze at the World Cham­pi­onships in London on Sun­day night.

But Yousif, who was also part of a bronze medal-win­ning quar­tet two years ago in Bei­jing, kept his cool in a su­per-charged at­mos­phere.

Af­ter a shaky per­for­mance in the 4x400m heats, Yousif could be for­given for feel­ing tense.

And that pres­sure was only ramped up when Great Bri­tain turned their dis­ap­point­ing cham­pi­onships around in the three re­lays that pro­ceeded the 4x400m fi­nal - with gold in the men’s sprint re­lay and both women’s quar­tets claim­ing sil­ver.

Matthew Hud­son-Smith gave Bri­tain a fly­ing start with solid legs from thirty some­things Dwayne Cowan and Yousif set­ting up an­chor man Mar­tyn Rooney, who re­cently turned 30, in clear third.

He duly de­liv­ered, hold­ing off the chal­lenge of Bel­gium as Trinidad and Tobago pipped the United States to gold.

“I’ve done big cham­pi­onships be­fore but I’ve never felt pres­sure like that,” ad­mit­ted Yousif.

“We saw the re­lay boys and girls get their medals and then we heard the women’s 4x400m team had won a sil­ver too, we knew we had to de­liver.

“It was a dif­fer­ent pres­sure be­cause the 4x100m boys set the stan­dard so high for us.

“I watched them win in my room and I was bounc­ing around all over the place, I was so ex­cited I could hardly sleep and I couldn’t wait to get out on that track. We knew we couldn’t be the only re­lay team to leave with noth­ing.”

Yousif has been nowhere near his best this sea­son but be­lieves - de­spite their ad­vanc­ing age - this could be­come a for­mi­da­ble team, if they can all stay in­jury free.

Next year it’s the Com­mon­wealth Games on the Gold Coast and they’ll ar­rive at the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships in Berlin ranked num­ber one in the con­ti­nent, with a tar­get on their back.

“It’s been a tough sea­son with in­juries and prob­lems, so this means so much,” he added.

“The only frus­tra­tion is I be­lieve with last year’s form we’d have won this cham­pi­onship with fly­ing colours and we’d be sat here with golds rather than bronzes.

“I don’t think any of these guys are go­ing any­where, we think we can do more spe­cial things to­gether.”

You can help the next gen­er­a­tion of young Bri­tish ath­letes by get­ting in­volved in Sport­sAid Week this Septem­ber with London 2012 hero Greg Rutherford MBE. Find out more about how you can sup­port the week of fun and fundrais­ing by vis­it­ing www.sport­said.org.uk/ sport­said­week

Rabah Yousif in ac­tion

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