BARR RUNS SECOND FASTEST TIME OF HIS CAREER IN TOKYO SEMI-FINAL

All eyes were firmly focused on the Olympic Stadium this evening, as Thomas Barr was the sole Team Ireland athlete in action in the Men’s 400m Hurdles semi-final. 

It wasn’t to be for the Waterford man though, as his second Olympic Games came to a close following a 4th place finish in his semi-final (and 9th overall) in a blistering time of 48.26 - the second fastest of his career and a Season’s Best. Though a strong run from Barr, it was unfortunately not enough to secure a fastest time qualifier spot, after finishing outside the automatic places.

It was always set to be a huge challenge for Barr in a semi-final of such calibre, which included the world record holder (Karsten Warholm), the third-fastest man in history (Rai Benjamin), and the man who beat him to bronze in Rio (Yasmani Copello). With just two automatic places up for grabs, Warholm and Benjamin were always favoured, being the only sub-47 second men in the field, proving their class from gun to tape.

Barr started much more aggressively than in his heat, aware of the challengers in the lanes either side of him and tried hard to hang on to those fast starters. He was very well positioned at the halfway mark, which was encouraging for the notoriously fast finisher, but hitting hurdle seven stripped the Irish hurdler of his momentum. A courageous fight back over the final 120m saw him post a time only bettered by his fourth-place performance in Rio, and he finished 9th overall in these Games –  just one spot away from a second consecutive final.

A disappointed Barr spoke of the effect that the clipped hurdle had on his race, saying: “I was coming over the hurdle smooth, much faster than I usually do over hurdle seven, but I didn’t bring my trail leg through as quickly as I’m used to, and I just clipped it. It was an inch, and yeah, it completely knocked my momentum. I didn’t feel lactic in my legs, so I was able to recover, but it probably did cost me a place in the final.

“I went into that in PB [Personal Best] shape,” he added. “It’s such a shame, because that’s the second fastest time I’ve ever run, and it’d probably have been a 47-something.”

The event is at its most competitive point in history, with Barr acknowledging that, saying: “It’s great to be a part of this event, it’s paving history at the moment. It would have been nice to be able to pave a bit of it in the Olympic final.”

EVENING RESULTS DAY NINE: JULY 31ST, 2021

ATHLETICS

Men’s 400m Hurdles, Semi-Final: Thomas Barr, 4th in 48.26

DAY 10 SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ARE IRISH TIME): August 2nd, 2021 

*Schedule may be subject to change 

01:35 Athletics – Ciara Mageean – Women’s 1500m Heat 1

01:59 Athletics – Sarah Healy – Women’s 1500m Heat 3

03:10 Athletics – Phil Healy – Women’s 200m Heat 6

07:00 Diving – Oliver Dingley – Men’s 3m Springboard Preliminary

09:00 Equestrian - Sarah Ennis, Austin O’Connor and Sam Watson - Eventing Jumping Team Final 

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