Thomas Barr’s coaches have paid tribute to the 24-year-old’s “stunning performance” after he lost out on a Olympic medal by five hundredths of a second.

Speaking at the University of Limerick Sports Arena where hundreds of supporters gathered to watch the race on a giant screen, Haley and Drew Harrison said they couldn’t be prouder of his performance.

“He couldn’t have given it anymore, he’s given a life time best what more can you ask?” said Drew.

“When you look at what he has managed to put together there: three races back to back in some of his fastest races ever, it’s quite astonishing and I couldn’t be prouder of him,” said Hayley.

Barr, who will graduate with a first class honours degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Limerick next week, very nearly missed out on going to Rio because of a year blighted by injury.

“Because of this condition he has on his hip, it sometimes flares up and it sometimes doesn’t but it flared up so much this year we really didn’t think he would be getting onto the plane for Rio so that is just a phenomenal achievement. I am really, really delighted,” Hayley Harrison said.

‘He ran a lifetime best, what more can you do?’

The Scottish husband and wife coaching team were among hundreds of fans who gathered to watch the race in the UL sports Arena where Thomas trained for the Olympics.

“We are all very proud. A great performance by Thomas, we are so pleased for him, a national record, a personal best and a great student and a great athlete. He’s a champion in our eyes at all times,” said Paul McCutcheon, vice president Academic & Registrar UL.

Dave Mahedy, director of sport & recreation at UL Sports Arena also paid tribute to the new Irish record holder.

“It’s devastating to come so close to an Olympic medal. You feel for him but you also feel so proud he’s fourth in the world, fourth in the Olympic games, for a student is just incredible.

“It will give the other students such a great boost. If you are training with someone who can go to a final in an Olympic games that has to give you a boost and it gives you something to work on.”

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