Jessie Barr has paid tribute to her younger brother Thomas after he broke the national record, and claimed top spot in his Olympic semi-final, clocking a time of 48.39 seconds, writes Gavin Spillane.
Barr, who ran for Ireland in the London Olympics, admitted it was surreal seeing her brother winning a semi-final as she watched the race from Limerick.
“If he came home with a gold medal tomorrow I wouldn’t be surprised,” Jessie Barr said, speaking on the Anton Savage show on Today FM.
“I said it once and I’ll say it again, he’s a freak of nature. He’s just so unassuming looking when he runs and is so good.”
He's going to win a medal, mark my words— Jessie Barr (@JessieBarr247) August 17, 2016
“I’m so used to seeing him win races on the circuit last season so I was like ‘Yeah, he won it’ but then it hit me ‘No, this is not a normal race, this is the Olympic semi-final he has won’.” an emotional Barr explained
“I was watching the race, the others were jumping around and I was sitting there, stunned. My heart was beating out of my chest. I didn't know what to do. It was just amazing
“The change in the atmosphere around the two minutes of his race; we were just so nervous.It was the third semi-final and we had seen what he ran in the first two heats was quick."
She added: “We knew he’d be there or thereabouts. I don’t think any of us expected him to win the race but when he was in touching distance with about 300 metres to go, we all had no doubt. He’s got it, he’s in. He’s in the final!”
According to Barr, times aren’t as quick in the final as they are in the semi-final in the 400m hurdles.
The 27 year-old is still holding out the hope that her brother will deliver on the main stage.
“I think he can go faster and don’t know can he do it tomorrow. In these championships, you find the fastest times to come in the semi final, that’s the pressure where you need those top 2 spots and the final is like a dog race. Sometimes time can go out the window it might not factor tomorrow, it could work in his favour.”