Thomas Barr of Ferrybank ran another Irish record of 47.97 seconds to narrowly miss out an Olympic medal when finishing fourth in the final of the 400m Hurdles at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The Waterford-native was thrilled with what was arguably the greatest Irish men’s track and field performance of the modern era.
“Aw lads, so close,” he said afterwards. “Close but no cigar this time round. I’m absolutely thrilled with what’s my first Olympics. 47 seconds, that really puts me on the map.”
The Ferrybank athlete had a year disrupted with injuries but an 11 week block of training masterminded by his coaches Haley and Drew Harrison has paid dividends alongside his support team.
“It’s been absolutely immense,” he said. “It’s been a tough year. I’d like to thank everyone who has stood by me – especially in the tough times. My coaches Haley and Drew (Harrison) have gotten me into such good fitness – not just for one good race but for three good races and a new national record of 47 seconds.
The last athlete not to win a medal running sub 48 seconds was in Atlanta in 1996 when Sweden’s Sven Nylander ran 47.98 seconds to finished fourth. The last time four athletes went under 48 seconds for the event was fifteen years ago.
This performance puts Barr in the international spotlight which should gain him a lane in the bigger Grand Prix meetings in Europe as well as the Diamond League series.