Saturday 19 October 2019

Impressive Thomas Barr powers into 400m hurdles semi-final at world championships in Doha

Thomas Barr of Ireland celebrates after competing in the Men's 400m Hurdles and qualifying for the next round during day one of the World Athletics Championships 2019 at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Thomas Barr of Ireland celebrates after competing in the Men's 400m Hurdles and qualifying for the next round during day one of the World Athletics Championships 2019 at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Cathal Dennehy

Thomas Barr produced a superb showing on the opening day of the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar today, the Waterford athlete finishing second in his 400m hurdles heat in 49.41 to book his place in tomorrow’s semi-final.

The race was won by world champion Karsten Warholm of Norway in 49.27, with Barr powering through to take the second automatic qualification spot.

"I felt good, nice and relaxed," he said. "I was in good contention down the home straight so I was actually able to ease off a bit. I didn’t have to go hell for leather so it’s nice to know I have a lot there for tomorrow."

It marks the third straight time Barr has qualified for the world semi-final and he has high hopes of becoming a world finalist for the first time ever this week.

"Tomorrow will sort the men from the boys. I’m going to have to run it like a final to get into the final,” he said. “Everyone was on cruise control today but they’re going to be dropping a couple of gears tomorrow. I’m quietly confident."

Michelle Finn was the only other Irish competitor in action, the Leevale athlete finishing ninth in her 3000m steeplechase heat in 9:47.44. Finn was obstructed by another athlete at the first barrier and came to a complete standstill, which cost her a few seconds, and after the race the Irish team management lodged an appeal to have her re-instated in the final, which was unsuccessful.

"You don’t get an asterisk next to your name because something happened, your result is your result so I was trying to tell myself to catch back up without using too much energy,” said Finn. “I’m disappointed with that but I’m happy that I tried to get into it and I didn’t give up."

Mark English will open his World Championships in the men’s 800m heats tomorrow, while Brendan Boyce will race the men’s 50km race walk.

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