Friday 24 May 2019

'I feel I've had an out of body experience' - Thomas Barr' family have heartwarming reaction to European medal

Thomas Barr's mother Martina (left) and sister Jessie (right).
Thomas Barr's mother Martina (left) and sister Jessie (right). Newsdesk Newsdesk

History was made in Berlin last night as Thomas Barr claimed Ireland's first ever medal in a men's sprint event at the European championships after taking home bronze in the 400m hurdles final.

The Waterford athlete - who finished fourth in the Olympic final in 2016 - was a medal hopeful but had to dig deep down the stretch to hold off French rival Ludvy Valiant.

While it was an emotional experience for Irish fans watching Barr race, it's nothing compared to how his family were feeling. Thomas' sister Jessie - also a 400m hurdler - and mother Martina were both in Berlin, and after the race they spoke to David Gillick on RTÉ.

Jessie revealed the nerves and emotions she was feeling as her younger brother claimed the biggest medal of his career.

"When he got into the box I started crying," she said.

"I was more nervous before the semi-final because once you are in the final, you are there. I think we were nervous because after the semi-final the time wasn't what we had hoped and we were nervous that he was going to be disappointed. Once he was two hurdles in, he took off like a rocket. I'm still shaking, it's just incredible."

And for Thomas' mother, she said she has to watch the race all over again to fully appreciate what her son achieved at the European championships.

"I feel I've had an out of body experience," she said.

"I know he was a bit disappointed with the time he ran in the semi and there was a lot of pressure. It was unusual for him to say he was nervous but when he walked out on the track he had a spring in his step. You just felt that confidence coming off him.

"I was crying for the second half of the race I think. I need to see a replay of the race to see how it all panned out. I saw the determination in his face as he came down the last 100m and I just thought, 'he has this'." It's a long time coming."

Watch the heartwarming interview below:

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