Thursday 25 May 2017

'Maybe I just wasn’t ready for a world final yet' - Barr and English fall short in Beijing

Thomas Barr of Ireland reacts following his semi-final of the Men's 400m hurdles event.
Thomas Barr of Ireland reacts following his semi-final of the Men's 400m hurdles event.

Cathal Dennehy

Thomas Barr and Mark English fell short of reaching their respective finals at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing today, with both athletes missing their respective finals by just a fraction of a second.

Barr finished fourth in his 400m hurdles semi-final in 48.71 seconds, which saw him miss out by just 0.25 of a second.

English, meanwhile,  came through the field strongly on the second lap of his men’s 800m semi-final, but could climb no higher than fifth, his time of 1:45.55 just 0.27 shy of making the cut.

“I’m a little bit annoyed,” said Barr, who was a gold medallist at the World University Games last month. “I know if I ran close to or slightly beyond my best, I could be in the final. I just didn’t have as strong a kick as in my heat, but I’ll take a huge amount from this.

“It was still very close to my best. Fourth in a world championship semi-final with my second-fastest time ever is pretty good. I just wish it was a little bit faster. Maybe I just wasn’t ready for a world final yet, but I’ve Europeans and Olympics next year and this will serve me well for that.”

English, meanwhile, was also looking forward to next year after finishing the championships in 10th place. “Sometimes you’re judged on whether you made it through each round,” he said, “and it’s judged as a failure if you fail at the semi-final stage, but if you came 10th in the marathon it’d be a great race, so that’s a good run. I’ll use it as motivation for the winter.”

“I think if I had a full season of training, I would have had a better shot at the final,” he said. “I may not have made it but I definitely would have run quicker.”

Earlier on Sunday, Alex Wright had a race to forget in the men’s 20km race walk. The 24-year-old was disqualified after 12 kilometres after three infractions for failing to maintain constant contact with the ground.

“I tried to make adjustments,” he said, “but it’s very hard when you’ve dropped off the others because judges pick up on things more. I wanted to achieve top 20 and just went for it. I took a risk and it didn’t pay off.”

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