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Dublin: 21 °C Thursday 13 August, 2020

'I'm still dry-mouthed, I'm still shaking' - Barr's family celebrate historic European bronze medal

Thomas Barr’s family were in Berlin to cheer him on to a fantastic bronze medal in the 400m hurdles final.

THERE WERE SMILES all round as Thomas Barr’s family celebrated his bronze medal success at the European Championships in Berlin.

Thomas Barr celebrates winning bronze Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

His sister Jessie admitted she was ‘still shaking’ after watching the Waterford native produce an incredible performance from lane eight to become the first Irishman to medal in a sprint event at the European Championships.

Barr ran his second fastest time ever of 48.31 to clinch a place on the podium, and a gang of supporters joined Jessie and their mother Martina to celebrate his success in Berlin.

“When he got into the blocks I started crying, we both did,” Jessie — an Olympic athlete herself — told RTÉ Sport’ David Gillick after the race.

“I think I was more nervous for the semi-final because obviously there was a lot more riding on that one because when he’s in the final, you’re there.

“But I think we were nervous because after the semi-final, the time [49.10] wasn’t what we’d hoped [for]. We were nervous he was going to be disappointed but once he was two hurdles in, he took off like a rocket.

I’m still dry-mouthed, I’m still shaking but I mean it’s just incredible.”

Barr explained after the final that he was feeling relaxed before lining up for the race and he carried that feeling through as he produced a strong finish down the home straight.

His mother Martina could see that sense of composure in him before he approached the starting line, and she could tell from his body language that he was ready to attack the field and claim a medal.

“I feel I’ve had an outer body experience,” she said.

“We were with him yesterday and he was in good form. I know he was probably a little disappointed with the time he ran in the semi and there was a lot of pressure.

“It was unusual for him to say he was nervous leading up to the semi because normally he doesn’t but as his Dad said, when he walked out onto the track tonight, he had a spring in his step. You just felt that confidence coming off him so I held my breath the whole way through the race but [it was] fantastic.

“I was crying I think for the second half of it. I need to see a replay of the race at this stage just to see how it all panned out. I saw that determination in his face coming down the last 100 metres and I just thought, ‘he has this, he has this’ so yeah, happy days.

“It’s a long time coming.”

Thomas Barr after finishing fourth Barr after finishing fourth in the final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Barr famously came close to winning a medal at the Rio Olympics two years ago in the final of the 400m hurdles, and he will be looking to improve on that finish at the Tokyo Games in 2020.

Jessie believes that this achievement will bolster her brother’s confidence levels ahead of that Olympics, and suggested that he might even be regarded as a medal prospect for that event.

“I think we were all confident that that medal was his until the semi-final, I think it wavered a bit. But he was saying all day that he was raring to go and just wanted to get on this track so I think he was annoyed that it was such a late race.

He’s going to be one of the medal favourites surely going into Tokyo all things going well and if this doesn’t give him confidence, I don’t know what will at this stage.”

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