WATCH: 'We're back baby' - Thomas Barr comes from nowhere to clock season's best in 400m hurdles victory
Thomas Barr's season came to life in Lucerne last night where the Olympic 400m hurdles finalist came from behind to power to victory in 49.10. That easily outstripped his previous best this year of 49.40, which Barr ran to win in Samorin, Slovakia, last month.
Running in lane two against an international field, Barr turned for home languishing in seventh place, but powered through over the final two barriers to snatch victory ahead of American Teejay Holmes (49.20) and Jamaica's Shawn Rowe (49.27).
It was a breakthrough run in what was, to date, an ordinary season for the 25-year-old. Barr was unable to break 50 seconds in his first three races of the summer, but he clocked 49.53 after receiving a late invitation to the Oslo Diamond League last month. Since then he endured a below-par run in Montreuil, France, finishing fifth in 50.38.
His personal best remains the 47.97 he ran to finish fourth in the Olympic final in 2016, while his season failed to fully fire last year. Barr had a season's best of 48.95 but illness ruled him out of the IAAF World Championships in London, where he contracted gastroenteritis between his heat and semi-final.
Last night's time was Barr's quickest at his specialist event in 13 months and catapults him into medal contention for next month's European Championships in Berlin. It moves Barr to seventh on the European rankings, which are led by Norway's world champion Karsten Warholm with 47.81.
Meanwhile, the Irish team returned to a heroes' welcome at Dublin airport last night after a successful European U-18 Championships in Hungary where they netted four medals through Sarah Healy, Rhasidat Adeleke and Sophie O'Sullivan. "I'm so happy," said Healy, who won the 1,500m and 3,000m. "I didn't plan on doing both but I'm so happy I did."
Men's 400m hurdles in Luzern.— Miska (@M1ZKA) July 9, 2018
1. @TomBarr247 🇮🇪 49.10
2. @Teejay_Holmes 🇺🇸 49.20
3. Shawn Rowe 🇯🇲 49.27
4. @KennySelmon 🇺🇸 49.30
5. Takatoshi Abe 🇯🇵 49.34
6. Jeffery Gibson 🇧🇸 49.47#trackandfield #athletics @JustSportsTweet pic.twitter.com/MQJxIVOsa7
Rhasidat Adeleke, a gold medallist over 200m, was equally as ecstatic. "It's absolutely amazing," she said. "The atmosphere is great, so many people offering their support and it makes you feel so proud of your achievements."