Irish hurdling star Thomas Barr is targeting a medal at next month’s European Championships after an impressive showing at the Cork City Sports meeting on Tuesday night.
Barr has burst onto the European scene this season, running a remarkable new Irish 400m hurdles record of 48.90 seconds at the EAP meet at Geneva, Switzerland, last month.
At Cork on Tuesday he had to settle for third place in a strong international field, running 49.95 to finish behind the winner, world number one Javier Culson, and second-placed Johnny Dutch, who is the winner of the US Athletics Championships this year.
It’s a sign of Barr’s rapid development that the third spot was something of a let-down for the Ferrybank AC athlete, even if he did acknowledge the high standard of the field.
“Honestly, I am a little bit disappointed,” he told RTÉ Sport after the race.
"“But to be racing in such a high-calibre field is just an experience in itself, and to be able to be somewhat competitive [...] is a big stepping stone.
“To be able to race with them in a more relaxed atmosphere at home is a stepping stone to bigger things.”
Barr said he was aware that he is in the mix for a medal at the forthcoming European Championships in Zurich.
He said: “With my 48.9 in Geneva, I was [the] leading European listed at the time. I’ve now dropped back down to third, but I mean, if I can maintain that spot, keep going as I’m going, keep training, who knows, once I get to a final in Zurich, anything can happen.”
“To be able to race with them in a more relaxed atmosphere at home is a stepping stone to bigger things" - Thomas Barr
Reflecting on a helter skelter period since his breakthrough performances, Barr conceded that things had been “hectic”, but was delighted that his season was progressing so positively after a challenging start.
“It’s a massive boost, because I started off the season quite rocky with injury after the indoor season,” he said.
“So I was kind of just hoping to get back and get fit for my first race there a couple of weeks ago in Belgium. And it went really well, and from there, it’s just been good news all the way along. So this is kind of my first little bit of a setback since then.”
Barr said he had been targeting the Irish meeting for a particularly impressive showing, but that he had lessons he could take from a showing that disappointed him
“I was hoping to do a lot better, and I’ve been kind of prepping myself for the last couple of weeks for it, and doing everything right.
“On the day, I just don’t think the conditions were right, my head wasn’t really as much in the game as it was maybe in Geneva or any of my other races.
“At least it’s something I can come away and say, ‘Right, I need to work on that.’”