Friday 15 December 2017

Barr back in the big league

Thomas Barr ran a time of 49.30 in the 400m hurdles in Geneva last week
Thomas Barr ran a time of 49.30 in the 400m hurdles in Geneva last week

After a "cobweb shaking" time of 49.30 seconds in Geneva last week, Thomas Barr returns to the big league on Friday when he is part of a select entry for the 400m hurdles at the Bislett Games Diamond League Meet in Oslo.

Form man in the field is Mamadou Kasse Hann of France who recorded a personal best 48.40 secs when beating Barr in Geneva. He's the only man in the field to have broken 49 seconds so far this season, although Karien Hussein of Switzerland came close when he finished second in Geneva with a time of 49.02 secs.

Star of the show is likely to be the double world champion Kerron Clement of the USA. He won the memorable 400m hurdles race at last year's Rio Olympic when four men - including Barr - broke 48 seconds.

So far this season, Clement, now 32, has only a 49.40 secs from the Doha Diamond League meet to his credit.

There's also the 30-year-old Cuban Yasmani Copello who runs in Turkish colours and pipped Barr for the bronze medal in Rio. Capello opened his season last week with a time of 49.60 secs at a race in Turkey.

Competing at the Rome Diamond League meet last Friday was Ciara Mageean of UCD. Running the 1500m, Mageean finished tenth in 4:04.49, comfortably inside the qualifying mark for the World Championships of 4:07.50.

Mageean then returned to her roots to win the 800m at the Northern Ireland Championships in an unpressurised time of 2:07.40.

Barr was not the only Irish athlete competing in Geneva. Clonliffe's Brian Gregan won  the 400m A race with a time of 45.75 secs, while Sinead Denny of DSD clocked 53.54 secs to win the women's 400m.

In the women's 200m, Bandon's Phil Healy ran 23.65 secs in her heat - the fastest women's 200m time this year. UCD's Sarah Lavin ran a time of 23.74 secs in a different race. Lavin, who missed last season through injury, also ran in her specialist hurdles clocking a time of 13.47 secs for second in her heat.

At Hengelo on Sunday, UCD's Mark English continued his comeback when he finished fourth with a time of 1:46.02 in the 800m. English was just off the World Championships standard of 1:45.90.

Competing at a meet in Regensburg, Germany was Marcus Lawler of SLOT who finished second in the 100m with career best time of 10. 30 secs - a qualifying mark for the World University Games Lawler then ran 20.79 secs for third in the 200m.

The chase for fast times continues this weekend, with 400m hurdler Paul Byrne and 110m hurdler Ger O'Donnell, signed up for the preliminary programme at Sunday's Stockholm Diamond League meet.

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