Thomas Barr and Mark English miss out on chance to make finals

Thomas Barr and Mark English missed out on making their respective finals at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing yesterday.

Barr (Ferrybank) was first up in the men’s 400m hurdles, finishing fourth in the first semi-final in 48.71 seconds. Drawn in lane 9 once more, Barr had it all to do in a race won by Kenya’s Boniface Mucheru Tumuti in 48.29 — a personal best for the Kenyan. USA’s Kerron Clement was second in 48.50 with Russia’s Timofey Chalyy third in 48.69.

“I’m a little bit annoyed because some athletes were slower than yesterday,” said Barr afterwards.

“Because I know if I ran close to or beyond my best, I could be in the final.

“I didn’t have as big a kick as yesterday but I’ll take a huge amount from this world championships, fourth in the semi-final with my second- fastest time is pretty good.

“I just wish it was a little bit faster. I could not believe I was drawn in lane nine again after giving out about it yesterday, you’d swear the gods were listening.” Barr did, however, finish 11th overall in what was a positive performance moving forward to the Olympics next year.

English (UCD), had to settle for a fifth place finish in his 800m semi-final in 1:45.55 but finished 10th overall. Bosnia’s Amel Tuka, one of the favourites for the gold, won the semi-final in 1:44.84 – English’s personal best.

“It was much easier than Saturday because I was focusing on running splits, trying to run 52 flat (through 400m),” commented the Letterkenny man afterwards in comparison to his first round heat where he finished fifth in 1:46.69. “So I was just off it, I tied up a small bit on that last 50 but I don’t think, given the injury I had, I was going to do any more than that,” he continued.

“These (semi-finals) usually go 51/52 first lap. I was trying to keep it as even as possible. I knew if I ran 1:44 I’d get through but it wasn’t out there.

“Sometimes you’re judged on whether you made it through each round, and it’s judged as a failure if you fail at the semi-final stage. But if you came 11th in the marathon it’d be a great race.

“So that’s a good run. I’ll use that as motivation for the winter. I think if I had a full season of training, I would have had a better go at the final. There’s a lot of mind games going on, it’s like a game of poker out there before the start, people judging each other’s emotions and expressions and trying to make the other person feel like you’re at ease, but I enjoy that aspect of it. The race starts before you get on the line.”

Thomas Barr and Mark English will combine later on in the week to run in the heats of the 4x400m relay heats on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Alex Wright (Leevale) was disqualified midway through the men’s 20km race walk after receiving his third warning for failing to maintain constant contact with the ground.

“It’s disappointing,” said the 24-year-old. “I wanted to achieve top 20. I just went for it. I took a risk and it didn’t pay off.” The race was won by Spain’s Miguel Angel Lopez in 1:19:14.


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