Rabah Yusuf at the 2010 Aviva Grand Prix.
11 December 1986 |
|Height||1.84 m (6 ft 1⁄2 in)|
|Weight||71 kg (157 lb)|
|Country|| Great Britain
4 x 400 metres relay
|Coached by||Carol Williams|
Yusif is the son of Mohamed Yousif Bakhit, who was Sudanese national champion in the 100 and 200 metres in the late 1960s and early 1970s. There were also three other athletes within his close family, and he took to sports at a young age.
In June 2002, he competed at the East Africa Youth Championships in Zanzibar and the Eastern African Junior Championships in Addis Ababa, winning a total of two gold medals in the high jump and one in the long jump. This qualified him for the World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica. At the age of 15, while training for the Championships with other Sudanese athletes in Sheffield, in the United Kingdom, he applied for asylum, and was granted temporary leave to stay. Guided by his British coach, Carol Williams, he switched from the high jump to the 400 metres, and won the British national junior championships in June 2004.
He finished third in the men's 400 metres event at the AAA Championships in 2005. He set a new record (45.72 seconds) at the 400 metres event of the Bedford International Games in 2007. He won the event again in 2008, with a time of 47.05 seconds.
In 2005, it was reported that Yusif was seeking British citizenship. In 2007, he was described as "one of Britain’s brightest hopes for an Olympic medal", but a judge turned down his asylum plea, and he faced deportation. By that point, he was living with a British woman, whom he then married in 2008; their son was born in 2006, followed by a daughter in 2009. In 2008, he was still living part-time in the United Kingdom, on a spouse's visa, "splitting his time between Khartoum and married life in the English town of Middlesbrough." Indeed, having lost the prospect of competing for the United Kingdom, he had chosen to compete for Sudan once more, having "got back in touch with the Sudanese authorities who guaranteed his safety through his solicitors".
In April 2008, despite an injury during training, he competed at the 2008 African Championships, and won a silver medal in the 4x400m relay, setting a new national record of 3:04.00 with his teammates. He did not qualify for the Olympic Games. The 2009 World Championships in Athletics in Berlin were his first major world competition; he reached the semi-finals, with the best result of any African athlete (45.63). That same year, he won gold at the Arab Championships in Damascus, with a new personal best of 45.15. He won gold again at the All Africa Games and the Arab Championships in 2011.
In May 2013, he announced that he now had been granted a British passport, and aimed henceforth to represent Great Britain in future athletics events. His transfer of allegiance, allowing him to represent his new country, was completed by the following month.
- IAAF biography
- "Williams and Yousif complete switch in allegiance", Athletics Weekly, 24 June 2013
- "Gardener battles to narrow win", BBC, 13 February 2005
- "Bedford International Games inc. UK Challenge report", UK Athletics
- "Rabah’s running triumph", Evening Gazette, 2 June 2008
- "European medal chances improve", BBC, 13 February 2005
- "Heartbreak as athlete's plea to stay is rejected", Evening Gazette, 20 October 2007
- "Darfur athletes train as Olympic row rages", Reuters, 15 April 2008
- Men's 400 m : results, London 2012