Thomas Barr opened his 2022 season last Friday with an impressive sub fifty seconds clocking at the Diamond League in Doha.
The Irish National record holder in the 400m Hurdles faced a stacked field and very difficult conditions in the Qatari capital but still managed to come away with a third-place finish in a time of 49.67s.
Barr produced his usual strong finish coming from sixth position with 100 metres to go up to third. When other athletes appeared to wilt, he remained strong and can be pleased with his opener.
Conditions were so blustery that the Pole Vault had to be postponed to Saturday and took place Indoors instead.
The quality of the event has continued to improve in recent years with former 400m Hurdles world champion, Welsh athlete Dai Green saying recently in an interview that the event was now “sexy” again.
The race was won by Brazilian athlete Alison dos Santos in a World Lead time of 47.24s. The 21-year-old looked strong after clearing the final barrier as US athlete Rai Benjamin tied up. Benjamin ran a time of 47.49s.
Both athletes were part of one of the greatest races ever seen, last year’s Olympic final which was won by Norwegian Karsten Warholm in a World Record time of 45.94s. Benjamin took silver that day with dos Santos claiming bronze.
Barr will have a big summer ahead of him with both the World Championships and European Championships on the horizon in July and August, respectively.
His next race is tonight in Savona, Italy near Genoa at 5.05pm Irish time. Barr has the fastest PB in the field, 47.97s that he ran in the Rio Olympics in 2016 but will face competition from British athlete Chris McAlister in particular. McAlister is yet to break 49 seconds for the event.
Two other talented Irish athletes get their seasons underway at the same meet tonight.
World Indoor 60m hurdle finalist Sarah Lavin goes in the 100m Hurdles. Lavin competed at the Tokyo Olympics last year and has started 2022 as she finished 2021, performing excellent. Her race gets underway at 4.30pm.
Molly Scott also has had a sensational start to 2022 breaking barriers in the 60m event Indoors. She was the first Irish woman ever to break 7.20s for the event before Rhasidat Adeleke ran a new National Record of 7.17s. Scott will race in the 100m this evening the heats of which get underway at 3.20pm before the final should she qualify at 4.40pm.