London 2017: Rabah earns relay bronze
PUBLISHED: 07:39 14 August 2017 | UPDATED: 07:39 14 August 2017
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Disappointment for high jumper Grabarz
Rabah Yousif admitted he nearly buckled under the pressure as he helped deliver a British bronze at the World Championships in London.
But Newham & Essex Beagles Yousif, who was also part of a bronze medal-winning 4x400m relay quartet two years ago in Beijing, kept his cool in a super-charged atmosphere.
After a shaky performance in the 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 30-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,” said 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 will 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.”
Meanwhile, fellow Beagle Robbie Grabarz failed to recapture the spirit of London 2012 as the Olympic bronze medalist finished sixth in the high jump final.
With two clear jumps to open the competition at 2.20m and 2.25m, Grabarz then failed with three attempts at 2.29m to leave him shy of a medal position.
After qualifying for the final Grabarz had spoken of needing to not let the excitement of the crowd get to him on finals night, and although he feels that was mission accomplished, he still left the stadium ruing a missed opportunity.
“I’m absolutely gutted. It was a terrible performance. It was technically really bad. I don’t have any excuses or reasons, it’s just way below what I’m capable of,” he said.
“It’s not the kind of performance I should be putting in, in my career at this point, in a major final.
“I think I managed the excitement quite well, just technically I didn’t do what I was supposed to do, to be honest.
“The support is absolutely amazing and it was exciting to be out there but not over the top, so I don’t really know what went wrong.
“I don’t want to say it’s my last chance at a worlds, but it’s definitely my last chance jumping in London, like this.
“And there won’t be many more worlds I’m going to be fit for, so it’s just such a missed opportunity.”
*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.