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Barr talks to JTG: “I’ll need to improve by half a second to make the Olympic final”

Thomas Barr capped off a breakthrough year with a fifth-place finish in the Brussels Diamond League and afterwards, the 23-year-old spoke to JumpingTheGun about his breakthrough year.

Barr ran 49.80 in a race won by Jeffery Gibson of the Bahamas in 48.72.

“I was a little bit switched off tonight,” he said. “It was a good race for what it was. I’ve come down off [the world championships in] Beijing; that was my peak. I didn’t feel nervous at all; I was just excited to get out there, but I didn’t go out hard enough and I think if I went out harder, I could have had more momentum around that last bend.”

With his race in Brussels, Barr brought a successful season to a close, one in which he won the World University Games title over 400m hurdles and lowered his own national record to 48.65. He also claimed the scalp of world champion Nicholas Bett of Kenya last night, who finished sixth in 49.90, and the Waterford athlete was in confident mood for the lead-up to next year’s Olympic Games in Rio.

“It’s a huge step I’ve taken this year,” said Barr. “I’ve gone from struggling to make qualifying standards to feeling comfortable competing at this level. I’ll need to improve by half a second to make the Olympic final next year, but once I stay injury-free, there’s no saying what could happen. It’s been a great year, a great season. I’ve been on an upward spiral all year.

“I’ll get five weeks off. I was thinking the fact i’m at this level on a regular basis and two years ago, just qualifying for Rio is a big deal. I have qualification, now I should be aiming higher. I’m already aiming higher.”

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Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy is a freelance journalist, a once-serious, now-retired athlete who writes for a number of international publications in the running industry. He has won two sports-writing awards, the Peter Ball Memorial Award in Ireland and the Wills Writing Award in the UK. Nationally, he previously worked for the Sunday Tribune, Irish Runner magazine and has written for the Sunday Independent, Irish Independent, the Guardian and The Independent in Britain. He is a regular contributor to Running Times, Runner's World, RunBlogRun and the IAAF website.
His banter levels are often poor, occasionally exceptional.

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