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Thomas Barr Hoping Irish Roar Can Inspire Him To Another European Medal

Thomas Barr Hoping Irish Roar Can Inspire Him To Another European Medal
Rory Cassidy
By Rory Cassidy
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It seems like only yesterday, yet it is six years since Thomas Barr ran the race of his life to finish fourth at the Rio Olympics in the 400m Hurdles.

The Waterford man wasn't given a chance going into the games yet ran a national record of 47.97s in the final to announce himself on the world stage.

Two years later in Berlin, Barr made the podium winning a superb bronze medal, his memories of which he describes as being all "absolutely fantastic."

He finished ninth overall at the Olympics last summer, missing out on the final by a narrow margin, with all indicators pointing to him being on course for a huge personal best had he not badly clattered a hurdle on the final bend.


"If I had executed the perfect race, or what I thought was the perfect race out in the semi-finals in Tokyo, I would have run a PB and it would have been a big PB of point three or point four of a second by Hayley's (Harrison, coach) calculations," Barr says.

Similar misfortune struck him at the World Championships in Eugene last month, a performance he puts down to not having the "fast rhythm" he required due to a lack of sharpness following an injury disrupted season. Back in May, Barr damaged his Achilles during a race in Italy which put him out of action for four weeks.

He was bitterly disappointed to finish fifth in his semi-final in a time of 50.08s, saying that he could generally run that time in his sleep.


Barr is optimistic that he has pushed on in the last couple of weeks since returning from America.

"I knew I was going to have to push to try and get myself into a final and I kind of had to force a faster rhythm that I just didn't have, it wasn't there," he admits.


"In the last couple of weeks now since then, I've gotten a nice bit of volume under the belt in training and also a nice bit of speed work done.


"It's really starting to click again."

Thomas Barr still feels he has more to offer

Barr, who is now 30, knows he doesn't have infinite chances of winning major medals but still believes there is more in the tank.

'If I didn't think that I could still run faster, I wouldn't still be running.

"Haley takes touchdown times on all of my hurdle runs and all the markers were there that I was in PB shape coming into this season and way ahead of where I was other seasons."

"There's nothing to say that I couldn’t go out in Munich and run a PB. I really do think that I could if everything comes right."

As someone who thrives off the buzz of a major championships Barr is looking forward to travelling to the Bavarian capital, where his training partners, girlfriend, family and friends along with many more Irish supporters will be in attendance.


"I love coming around the track, seeing all of the Irish flags and hearing the Irish accent shouting my name as I'm walking towards the blocks or setting them up.

"I know for a fact there'll be a couple of Irish flags out there but the more the merrier."

Driven on by the roar of the Irish, it is hoped that Barr could deliver silverware once again.


"I wouldn't say I'm confident, I'm more hopeful," he says of his chances of doing so.

In what is his fifth appearance at these championships, Irish fans will be willing Thomas Barr to rise to the occasion once again.

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