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Thursday 8 December 2016

So near so Barr for Irish hero

Waterford man breaks Irish record again but falls just split-seconds short of historic medal

Thomas Barr reacts after finishing fourth place in a new Irish record in the Olympic Stadium, Maracanã. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Thomas Barr reacts after finishing fourth place in a new Irish record in the Olympic Stadium, Maracanã. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Ireland's Thomas Barr ran his second national record in the space of three days, but missed out on a medal in the 400 metres hurdles by an agonising five hundredths of a second at the Rio Olympics.

The 24-year-old from Waterford, who did not even make the final at last month's European Championships, came home in 47.97 seconds, a fraction behind bronze medal winner Yasmani Copello, a Cuban-born Turk.

American Kerron Clement won gold in 47.73secs.

Barr said: "I would be lying if I said I was complaining, but I was so close - five hundredths and I think I could have found it.

"Fourth is the worst place as you are so close."

Barr, who defied hip and groin problems to become the first Irish sprinter to reach an Olympic final for 84 years, admitted, though, he could not have imagined in his wildest dreams running so well in Rio.

A gold medallist at the World University Games in 2015, he has lowered his personal best by almost a second. His final time was 0.42s quicker than the Irish record he set in the semi-finals.

"I had no chance on paper after all my injuries," said Barr. "Maybe I should miss three months of training every year."

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