On the eve of the World Athletics Relays, Rabah Yousif Bhkeit has been named as captain of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team.

The Newham and Essex Beagles athlete is a vastly experienced 4x400m relay medallist, winning two world championship bronze medals during his career, the latest coming on home soil at the World Athletics Championships London 2017. The 34-year-old has been an ever-present member of the relay set-up over the last few years having also been part of two European medal winning teams, claiming silver in 2018 and bronze in 2016.

On his appointment as captain, Yousif Bhkeit said: “It was a mixed emotion. I feel like with the number of teams I have been on and the experience I have had, I might be asked.”

“I bring fighting spirit, leadership, desire, competitiveness and most importantly, I bring experience to the role. I have been doing this sport for a very long time. When I stand with the team, I feel like most of them feel confident and comfortable because I have always been consistent and doing what I do best. I hope I can bring that to the wider team as the captain.”

Tim Benjamin, Head of Long Sprints and Relays added: “Rabah brings a wealth of experience to the team, so I’m delighted to be naming him as captain of the British squad for the 2021 World Athletics Relays.

“He is a great role model who adds real value to the squad. He is an athlete who has experienced the highs and lows of the sport, so he is well-placed to pass on the knowledge that he has learned during his career. He’s been a key figure in the 4x400m relay team in recent years, so he will thrive in this position for the World Relays.”

The qualifying rounds gets underway at 18:00 (BST) today (Saturday 1) with the women’s 4x400m relay, followed by the men’s 4x400m relay at 18:35 and mixed 4x400m relay at 20:20.

The British team for the 2021 World Athletics Relays in Silesia, Poland:

Women: Zoey Clark, Emily Diamond, Yasmin Liverpool, Jessie Knight, Laviai Nielsen, Ama Pipi, Jessica Turner.

Men: Joe Brier, Dwayne Cowan, Charlie Dobson, Kevin Metzger, Efe Okoro, Lee Thompson, James Williams and captain, Rabah Yousif Bkheit.