Thomas Barr wins 400m hurdles semi to reach final

Ireland’s Thomas Barr has won his semi-final to qualify for the final of the men’s 400m hurdles at the Rio Olympics.

The Waterford hurdler smashed his own national record in order to secure his progression to the final, clocking a time of 48.39.

Barr started the race smoothly and was in third place coming out of the final bend, before delivering a scintillating finish in order to ensure he qualified automatically for the final.

The University of Limerick man is the third fastest qualifier for the final, ensuring a good lane draw for today’s final.

Running in the last of three semi-finals, Barr had the luxury of knowing what he had to do in order progress – finish in the top two to ensure automatic qualification or, failing that, run a new national record time in order to be one of the two fastest runners-up.

In the end the Ferrybank runner did both, winning his semi-final from Haron Koech of Kenya.

Kerron Clement of the United States is the fastest qualifier for the final, having won the first semi-final in 48.26 seconds.

Jamaica’s Annsert Whyte won the second semi-final in 48.32 seconds and is the only other qualifier who ran faster than Barr.

Barr is the first Irish man to reach the final of the 400m hurdles since Bob Tisdall won the event at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles.

The final takes place this afternoon at 4pm.

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