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Published: 08:28 | 17/8/16

Barr storms into 400m final

Waterford athlete breaks national record

Thomas Barr has become the first Irishman to reach the Olympic final of the 400metres hurdles in 84 years with a stunning victory in his semi-final.

Barr won the third semi-final in a time of 48.39, taking 0.26 seconds off his own national record, to book his place in Thursday's final in Rio.

The Waterford runner had previously joked that he had only packed one pair of socks after coming through his heat in a time of 48.93 and he stormed through in the final 100m to take the victory.

"Yesterday I was a lot more nervous because I was in the unknown," Barr told RTE Sport.

"I had only run 50 [seconds] in Amsterdam [at the European Championships] and I wasn't sure if I was coming out here as a 50 runner or a 49, or a 48.

"I just completely skipped 49 straight down to 48, and low 48. I'm ecstatic, thrilled."

Reflecting on the race, Barr added: "I didn't panic, I stayed relaxed around the top bend and came up on hurdle eight and nine and knew if I can nail these again I have this.

"I found something in the back of my head that said if I don’t kick on I’m not going to get to the final so that was enough motivation."

Barr is the first Irishman to reach the 400m final at the Olympics since Bob Tisdall won gold in 1932.

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