Tuesday 15 October 2019

'Disappointed' Thomas Barr comes close to first-ever world final in Doha

Ireland's Thomas Barr of Ireland on his way to finishing fourth in the Men's 400m Hurdles semi-finals during day two of the World Athletics Championships 2019 at Kahifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Ireland's Thomas Barr of Ireland on his way to finishing fourth in the Men's 400m Hurdles semi-finals during day two of the World Athletics Championships 2019 at Kahifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Cathal Dennehy

Thomas Barr came agonisingly close to making his first ever world final in Doha, Qatar today, the 27-year-old finishing fourth in his 400m hurdles semi-final in 49.02.

Barr needed a top-two finish to go through automatically or had to run at least 48.93 to qualify on time, but despite a strong start he was just outside both of those as he crossed the line in fourth. The race was won by USA's Rai Benjamin in 48.52.

"I’m disappointed, I thought it was going to be faster," said Barr. "I really went for it over that first 200 and maybe it cost me a little in the home straight.

"I was in contention and I was in position to strike but when I went to open up over hurdle eight and nine I just didn’t have that same strength of yesterday.

"It was a tough race but I’m happy to say I came away and gave it my best. It’s one of those years, but I’ll use it as fuel for the fire for next year."

Mark English’s championships came to an abrupt end in the first round of the men’s 800m, the three-time European medallist bowing out after finishing seventh in his heat in 1:47.25.

English adopted an unusual tactic for him and took the race out hard, passing 400m all alone out front in 51.89.

However he simply didn’t have the strength to hold it over the final 200 metres when he was passed by the entire field.

"I decided to put myself in contention for one of the six fastest losers’ spots but it didn’t work out obviously," he said.

"It wasn’t worth waiting for anyone so I decided to go for it. I’ll have to sit down and look at everything this season and see what I can do for next year."

Brendan Boyce will be the third Irish athlete in action today when he competes in the men’s 50km race walk at 9.30pm Irish time tonight, while in the women’s 10,000m final Mayo native Sinéad Diver, who has been based in Melbourne for the past two decades, will represent Australia. 

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