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Saturday 16 December 2017

Jessie sets the Barr by making the final frontier

IRELAND'S Jessie Barr ran a tremendous race in her 400m hurdle semi-final to come fourth in a new personal best time of 55.93 seconds to qualify for the final.

It was a career best performance from the Waterford athlete who qualified for the finals of the European Under-23 and Junior (Under 20) finals in 2011.

Barr qualifies for tomorrow's final which takes place at 6pm Irish time.

But there was major disappointment yesterday evening for Ireland's Joanne Cuddihy, who believed she had qualified for the 400m semi-finals with her third-place finish in her heat but was disqualified for a lane infringement.

She did launch an appeal but it was thrown out almost immediately, to the Kilkenny woman's frustration.

"It wasn't a case that I was cutting it too close to the line, which I have been guilty of in the past. It's how I tend to run," she said.

Tricky

"Having learned my lessons from my own past experiences and from the (men's) 400m heats this morning, when there were plenty of disqualifications, I knew this track was a particularly tricky one.

"What I think actually happened was that I more or less stumbled. I don't really know if my foot struck the ground but, for whatever reason, I fell for a step."

There was also disappointment for sprinter Jason Smyth in yesterday evening's 100m semi-finals.

The Derry runner had made it through the heats in 10.47 seconds but could only manage 10.52 in the semis, coming in seventh.

The result means that Smyth has yet to make the Olympic 'A' standard with time running out for him to run in the London Olympics as well as the Paralympics, which he has already qualified for.

There was also disappointment for Ireland's Tori Pena, who failed to make the 4.40m mark for the pole vault final.

Attempts

The Californian-born athlete cleared both 4.15m and 4.25m on her first attempts but took three jumps to clear 4.35m. She failed in all three attempts at 4.40m. In her third attempt, she soared above the bar but brought it down as she fell.

Pena registered a new Irish record of 4.52m at an invitational in Tucson, Arizona in April.

Meanwhile, Britain's Mo Farah insists he can still improve despite becoming the first man to retain the 5,000m title in the history of the European Championships.

The 29-year-old powered to victory in Helsinki's Olympic Stadium in 13 minutes 29.91 seconds, 30 seconds slower than his world-leading time in 2012 set in Eugene, Oregon, earlier this month.

"There is a lot of stuff to be worked on," Farah said after winning by almost two seconds.

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