Sunday 26 March 2017

Thomas Barr finishes sixth in IAAF Diamond League meeting in Zurich

Ireland’s Thomas Barr
Ireland’s Thomas Barr

Cathal Dennehy

Thomas Barr closed out a memorable 2016 season by finishing sixth in the 400m hurdles in 49.34 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Zurich tonight.

It was the 24-year-old’s first race since finishing fourth in the Olympic final in Rio, and his first outing on the ultra-competitive Diamond League circuit this year.

Barr struggled to get into the race from the outset, with Olympic champion Kerron Clement of the US maintaining his dominance and winning in 48.72. Despite a typically strong finish, Barr came home sixth in 49.34, well shy of the 47.97 he ran in the Olympic final.

Shortly after his race in Rio, Barr suggested he would bring his season to a close, but the Ferrybank athlete accepted an invitation to compete in Zurich earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Mark English will attempt to finish his 2016 season with a flourish when he competes over 800m in Rovereto, Italy next Tuesday evening. After progressing well since bowing out at the semi-final stage of the Olympics, the 23-year-old will be targeting the Irish 800m record of 1:44.82, held by David Matthews since 1995. English’s current best of 1:44.84 dates back to 2013, but he has a best of 1:45.36 this year.

English is then hoping to end his season by competing over 500m at the Great North City Games in Newcastle next Saturday, where he looks set to clash with Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha of Kenya, who was announced as the headline act for the 500m race yesterday.

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