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Saturday 20 September 2014

Quality Cork field eases pain of Diamond snub for Barr

Published 04/07/2014 | 02:30

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Thomas Barr's 400m hurdles Irish record of 48:90 should have opened international doors for him, but getting into the Diamond League is difficult for the Irishman without an influential agent. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Thomas Barr's 400m hurdles Irish record of 48:90 should have opened international doors for him, but getting into the Diamond League is difficult for the Irishman without an influential agent. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Thomas Barr has not managed to get into a Diamond League yet but he is not too bothered considering the quality of 400m hurdles opposition in Cork City Sports next Tuesday.

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Reigning world champion Jehue Gordon (Trinidad & Tobago) pulled out yesterday but Olympic bronze medallist Javier Culson (Puerto Rico) will definitely be on the start-line.

A two-time silver medallist at world championships, as well as bronze in London 2012, Culson has clocked the world's fastest time (48:10) this year.

The race will also include American champion Johnny Dutch and Jamaica's Roxroy Cato, ranked third in the world.

Barr's Irish record of 48:90 should already have opened doors for him internationally but getting into the Diamond League is very difficult unless you have an influential agent mixing in those circles.

Barr doesn't have an international agent yet and says he will not look to sign up with one until next year.

"I was chatting with Hayley (Harrison, his coach) about it and we're happy enough just to go with the plans we'd laid out for this summer and let it sit for now," he said.

"The race in Cork should be really good and after that I'll be racing in the Morton Games so I have plenty of high quality races here at home."

The 400m hurdles field demonstrates that Cork City Sports, now in its 63rd year, can still pull in big names and should provide great entertainment at Cork IT on Tuesday (from 6.0).

The sprints include Britain's Mark Lewis-Francis and a host of Caribbean stars.

The long jump will feature Jess Henderson, who won the US title last weekend with a personal best.

World champion Rob Heffernan is returning from his training base in Spain to race the 3,000m walk, and Kildare's Paul Robinson will contest the mile, which also includes Bahrain's Benson Seurei and America's Jordan McNamara.

Two-time Olympic finalist Juan Luis Barrios and Kenya's former NCAA double champion Sam Chelanga are in for the 3,000m that will include new Irish international Kevin Batt.

The men's 400m includes Manteo Mitchell, the American who famously finished his 4x400m relay leg in London 2012 despite breaking his leg. Laura Crowe is up against Lynsey Sharp, the Briton upgraded to European 800m champion after Yelena Arzhakova got banned for doping, and Tori Pena is among the high class women's pole vault.

Start lists will appear on the official website tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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