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Youcef Abdi

Youcef AbdiYoucef Abdi — Youcef was born and raised in Algeria and came to Australia for the 1996 world junior championships and decided to stay. He fell in love with Sydney, which is now his place of residence. His favourite hobbies include soccer, going to the movies and listening to music. He started running at the age of 14 to accompany his brother, who was scared of running in the bush by himself. Youcef went to school in France with famous French soccer player Thierry Henry. He speaks French and Arabic.

Competition Stats

Australian Championships

  • 1500 metres – 2000 – 2nd, 2001 – 4th, 2002 – 2nd, 2003 – DNF (fell), 2004 – 1st
  • 3000m steeple – 2005 – 3rd, 2006 – 1st, 2007 – DNF (fell), 2008 – 3rd (2nd Australian), 2009 – 1st

International Championships

  • World School Games – 1994
  • World junior championships – 1996 – 800m heat (1.54.12)
  • Commonwealth Games – 2002 – 1500m 3rd (3.37.77), 2006 – 3000m steeple 11th (9.02.22)
  • World Cup – 2002 – 1500m 4th (3.41.01), 2006 – 3000m steeple 5th (8.36.13)
  • World Championships – 2003 – 1500m 8th semi (3.40.13), 2007 – 3000m steeple 12th heat (9.51.33), 2009 – 3000m Steeple 11th heat (8.49.88)
  • Olympic Games – 2008 – 3000m steeple 6th (8:16.36)

Annual Progression

1500 metres

  • 1998 – 3.40.90
  • 1999 – 3.41.00
  • 2000 – 3.39.77
  • 2001 – 3.37.81
  • 2002 – 3.36.35
  • 2003 – 3.36.35
  • 2004 – 3.37.28
  • 2005 – 3.39.22
  • 2006 – 3.40.74
  • 2007 – 3.38.48
  • 2008 – 3.42.98
  • 2009 – 3.43.58

3000m Steeple

  • 2005 – 8.37.42
  • 2006 – 8.21.98
  • 2007 – 8.18.34
  • 2008 – 8.16.36
  • 2009 – 8.30.76

Events/Personal Bests

  • 800 metres – 1.48.30 – Rovereto (ITA), 28/08/02
  • One mile – 3:56.23 – Eugene (USA), 24/05/03
  • 1500 metres – 3.36.35 – Rieti (ITA), 8/09/02
  • 3000 metres –  7.54.31 – Cuxhaven (GER), 19/07/03
  • 3000m steeple – 8.16.36 – Beijing (CHN), 18/07/08

Sporting Career

  • 1996 – Youcef competed for his country of birth, Algeria, at the world junior championships, running in the 800m.
  • 2002 – Placed second over 1500m at the nationals and was selected in the Commonwealth Games team, his first Australian squad. He won bronze in Manchester, the first by an Australian in the 1500m at an Olympics, world championships or Commonwealth Games since Herb Elliott in 1960.
  • 2003 – Selected in the world championships team for Paris in the 1500m, where he bowed out in the semi-finals.
  • 2004-05 – Moved to the 3000m steeplechase, clocking a best of 8:37.42 and placing third at the nationals.
  • 2006 – Won the 3000m steeple at nationals and was selected for the Commonwealth Games but fell at the Melbourne meet whilst well placed, finishing 11th. He rebounded well on his European trip, running a personal best of 8:21.98 in Heusden and went on to finish fifth in the World Cup in Athens in 8:36.13.
  • 2007 – Fell at nationals but was selected for the world championships in Osaka. Broke the Australian record in the rarely-contested 2000m steeplechase (5:26.60) and recorded a new personal best over the 3000m steeple. His poor fortune continued at the worlds, tumbling in his heat at the start of the final lap.
  • 2008 –Youcef was caught up in the Eldoret riots in Kenya, which left him stranded in a house with only rice to eat for a week. It affected his preparations for nationals, where he finished third. In his Olympic debut he qualified for the final after running a personal best (8:17.97) in the heats of the 3000m steeplechase. In the final he finished sixth in another personal best time (8:16.36). The time was 0.14 seconds outside of Shaun Creighton’s Australian record and the fastest time ever by an Australian at the Olympics.
  • 2009 – Youcef’s 2009 campaign got off to a flying start with victory in the 3000m steeplechase (8:38.65) at the national championships in Brisbane in March, his second steeplechase crown. In his third world championships appearance in Berlin in August Youcef placed 11th in his heat, his time of 8:49.88 not enough to advance.

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