Thomas Barr positive despite European Championships exit

400m hurdler fails to make final but is now looking to Rio after recovery from injury

No one said it would be easy, and for Thomas Barr it also looked a little too soon, his chance of making the final at the European Championships simply running away from him inside Amsterdam's old Olympic Stadium.

Barr needed a top-two finish to guarantee his place in the 400m hurdles final, only he never came close, finishing fifth in a season best of 50.09 seconds, clearly lacking race sharpness given his recent 10-week injury lay-off.

“I’ll take the positive first, in that I’m only coming back from injury, and glad to be here,” said the 23 year-old Barr. “At the same time, I felt I could have gone quicker, had a really good race in me. I felt ready for it, but once I got going I felt a little stretched from hurdle one, couldn’t get into a proper stride pattern or rhythm down the backstretch and maybe lost the head a little bit.

“And to be honest, I don’t know would I have had another race me in, tomorrow, so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise, that I didn’t get through, because I am fairly tired now. But wherever I finished these championships, that’s where my Rio race starts, so that is now.”


The quality across all three semi-finals was awesome, former Cuban Yasmani Copello-Escaba, a Turkish convert, looking best when running 48.42 seconds.

Not long after Barr came Brian Gregan’s semi-final exit in the 400m flat, finishing seventh in 46.3.

Equally pleased

Marcus Lawler


Amy Foster

did earn themselves another run, and are among the eight Irish athletes in action on day three: Lawler finished fifth in heat one of the 200m in 21.06, qualifying for the semi-finals as the fastest non-automatic spot.

Foster was equally pleased with her third place finish in the 100m in 11.57 which qualified her automatically for the semi-finals. “I got the job done,” said Foster. “I would expect of myself to get through to the semis but now it’s a different ball game getting into a European final.”

Indeed it will, as these championships are proving exceptionally competitive. Just ask Karl Griffin and Declan Murray, both run out of it in their 800 heats. Griffin finished eighth on 1:49.37, while Murray finished sixth in his heat, running 1:50.10.

Also exiting was Tori Pena, seventh in her pole vault qualifying with a best clearance of 4.35m.


11:55: 110m Hurdles Men Qualifying: Ben Reynolds

12:30: 3000m Steeplechase Women Qualifying: Kerry O'Flaherty, Michelle Finn, Sara Treacy

13:15: 400m Hurdles Women Qualifying: Christine McMahon

17:15: 1500m Women Qualifying Rounds: Ciara Mageean

17:50: 200m Men Semi-finals: Marcus Lawlor

16:15: 100m Women Semi-finals: Amy Foster

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

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