Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Gutted Reid vows to fight back after Euro final misery


By Brian Hill

Thomas Barr had the race of his life in the 400m hurdles last night at the European Championships in Berlin when he snatched a bronze medal, but there was less to celebrate for Northern Ireland's Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Leon Reid who ran 20.37 to finish seventh in the 200m final.

Reid - who recently switched allegiance from Team GB to Ireland - took to the start line in a high-quality 200m final and, like Barr, was drawn in the unfavourable lane eight.

Turkish world champion Ramil Gulyev ran a Championship record 19.76 to take gold ahead of Great Britain's Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake.

Reid improved his semi-final time by a hundredth of a second but 20.37 seconds was only good enough for seventh.

"I felt my bend was really good but I just didn't have the legs to finish it off," he said. "I need to be in the mix, I don't want to be finishing seventh. I know there are some guys there that I can beat but I just couldn't today.

"I am disappointed as I just didn't have it today. It just wasn't a good run. I will learn from this and my objective is simply to run faster in future."

Some 30 minutes before that, Ferrybank man Barr (26) became the first Irish male sprinter to win an outdoor European medal. He recorded his third fastest ever time of 48.31 seconds to make up for the bitter disappointment of settling for fourth in the Rio Olympics.

"I knew it was going to take close to my personal best and I am just glad I pulled it out of the bag," Barr said. "I felt so relaxed beforehand, I run my best when I am relaxed."

Barr was fourth on the home straight and came under pressure from Frenchman Ludvy Vaillant, but fought to the line to snatch bronze by just 0.11 seconds. The race was won by Turkey's Yasmani Copello in a national record of 47.81 seconds.

Barr added: "The European standard in 400m hurdles at present is unbelievable. I thought this wouldn't be my year but I just got stuck in.

"It is just so nice that all the preparation finally paid off."

Former European bronze medallist Mark English has had major problems this season recovering from injury - and that showed in last night's 800m heats.

The 25-year-old medical student struggled to cope with the pace and eventually finished in eighth place, albeit in a season's best time of 1.48.98, and did not progress.

DSD's Zak Curran fared little better in his heat with a seventh-place finish in 1.49.31.

Today's programme in Berlin includes Northern Ireland's Ciara Mageean in the 1,500m, in which she got a bronze medal in these Championships two years ago in Amsterdam.

She has had some inconsistent performances since then but her ability was recently shown by a classy time of four minute, one second in Barcelona.

Her move to work under Steve Vernon's coaching in Manchester seems to be paying dividends. The 26-year-old will rightly expect to claim her place in Sunday's final .

Newcastle's Kerry O'Flaherty, who has a PB of nine minutes 42 seconds, has had a rather indifferent season and hasn't broken 10 minutes. She will have to do so here to progress to the final.

Team-mate Michelle Finn should have a great chance of qualifying after her recent Irish title win. Bandon's Phil Healy should also qualify in her 200m heat, particularly after her recent sub-23 seconds run in Cork.

Belfast Telegraph

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