Thomas Barr lowers season best again at London Diamond League

Waterford athlete finishes third in the 400m hurdles in a time of 48.99

With perfectly neat timing it seems Thomas Barr is fast running himself into his best form ahead of the European Athletics Championships in Berlin, now just over two weeks away.

For the second race in succession, Barr ran a season best over the 400 metres hurdles, nailing third sport at the London Diamond League in 48.99 seconds on Saturday, his first sub-49 this season in finishing behind Europe's leading duo of Karsten Warholm and Yasmani Copello.

Back on the same London Stadium track where he won the World title last August, Warholm lowered his own Norwegian record to 47.65, now the second fastest man in the world, while the Cuban-born Copello, now representing Turkey, clocked 48.44 in second.

Barr was finishing as fast as anyone, his 48.99 improving on the 49.10 he ran to win in Lucerne the week, having run 49.40 in Samorin, Slovakia, last month. Though still a little short of the 47.97 that Barr ran to finish fourth in the Rio Olympics, he's clearly improving with every race. Another of the contenders for Berlin, Rasmus Mago from Estonia, was back in fifth in 49.11.

The Waterford athlete will have one more hurdles race before Berlin, at the National Championships in Santry this coming weekend. Then it’s on to the European championships, hoping at least to make some amends for what happened in the World Championships last August, when he contracted gastroenteritis between his heat and semi-final, with naturally under-par results.

Also tuning up for Berlin in London were the Irish women's 4x100m relay, where the quartet of Joan Healy, Gina Apke-Moses, Ciara Neville and Phil Healy looked a little off the best when finishing seventh in 44.23, with the British women running a season best of 42.36 for victory ahead of the Chinese and Dutch.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics

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