Sunday 17 December 2017

Santry goes wild as Barr stuns world champion

Ireland's Thomas Barr celebrates after winning the mens' 400m hurdles event at the Morton Games. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Ireland's Thomas Barr celebrates after winning the mens' 400m hurdles event at the Morton Games. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

Rising Waterford hurdles star Thomas Barr (21) pulled out the greatest performance of his young life to beat the reigning world 400m hurdles champion Jehue Gorden by over half a second at the Morton Games last night.

The young Ferrybank hurdler sent the Santry crowd wild when he overtook the Trinidad & Tobago superstar at the final barrier and stormed home in 48.94 seconds, just over four hundredths of a second off his Irish record and his second fastest time ever.

Gordon trailed home in 49:48 with Brazilian Mahau Suguimati third (49:94) in a race that will go down in Irish athletics history.

"I'm absolutely delighted," Barr said. "He stumbled at hurdle nine and coming to the last I thought, 'right, I'm clearing this!' and lo and behold, I came home ahead of him!"

Barr's pre-race confidence was low after finishing third in Cork midweek – but he credited that race for helping him to take the biggest scalp of his burgeoning career.


Donegal's Mark English didn't get the Irish record he's still chasing but still ran a stadium record of 1:45.30 in the 800m, coming home clear of USA's Ryan Martin and Australia's Ryan Gregson, with Paul Robinson fourth.

There were five more stadium records also in both 100m sprints from Bajan Warren Fraser (10.20) and South Africa's Carina Horn (11.36) and the men's 3,000m by Mexico's Juan Luis Barrios (7:44.21) and Molly Huddle in the women's mile (4:26.84).

And once again the legendary Morton Mile provided a fitting climax with another stadium record.

Ciaran O'Lionaird's failed in his bid to get within the European qualifying of 3:39 for the 1,500m, but his brave front-running contributed to American Will Leer winning in a sensational time of 3:51.82, breaking Steve Scott's stadium record (3:53.80) from 1980.

Nine more men broke four minutes, including Donore's John Travers, whose 3:55.44 knocked six seconds off his PB and he also qualified for next month's European Championships by hitting the 1,500m mark in a 3:37.5.

Kelly Proper's decision to skip Morton and race in Germany last night also paid off as her lifetime best of 23:16 was the second fastest 200m ever by an Irishwoman and also secured European Championship qualification.

Irish Independent

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