Rabah Yousif: British Athletics' lottery funding 'taken pressure off'

By Joe TownsendBBC Tees Sport
Rabah Yousif
Sudan-born Rabah Yousif has lived in Middlesbrough for the last decade

Middlesbrough sprinter Rabah Yousif says being funded by British Athletics has made a huge difference to his life.

The 28-year-old competed for Sudan at London 2012, but switched allegiance to Great Britain a year later.

He won a gold medal as part of the 400m relay squad at this summer's European Championships, and was added to the National Lottery programme in November.

"It just takes all the pressure off so you can focus on training completely. I feel it's really helping me," he said.

"This time last year I wasn't even halfway near where I am now so now all I need to do is work on technical things."

Yousif moved to Britain in 2002 and was eventually granted leave to remain five years later.

Originally a high-jumper, he switched to 400m and at the 2012 Olympics reached the semi-finals.

Rabah Yousif
Rabah Yousif (left) at London 2012 for Sudan, and (right) at the 2014 European Championships for Great Britain

This winter he has raced indoors, but was disqualified for a false start in the 200m semi-finals at the British Indoor Championships on Sunday.

"It's incredibly frustrating because you put the work in and feel you've let yourself down. I guess that's just how it goes sometimes when you're trying to get a quick start - I'll get over it," he told BBC Tees.

"I'm still aiming to make the European Indoorsexternal-link team next month so will be racing in Stockholm this week to try and run a fast time. But overall, I'm enjoying things and think it's going really well."