Friday 24 January 2020

Wexford mum's pride as Barr bags bronze...

... but agony for Menapians' Leon Reid in 200m final

Thomas Barr celebrating his bronze medal win
Thomas Barr celebrating his bronze medal win
Sprinter Leon Reid who qualified for the 200m final

David Looby

Two Irish athletes with strong Wexford connections have been representing the nation at the European Championships in Berlin, with Thomas Barr achieving a career best bronze medal.

Thomas's grandmother Breda French (née Tweedy) and mother Martina hail from the Fethard-on-Sea area.

Martina couldn't contain her excitement when her son crossed the line, winning a bronze medal in the European Championships on Thursday night in the 400m race.

Barr had left himself with a lot to do, with a slow semi-final performance leaving him running on the outside in lane eight. The 26-year-old from Ferrybank Athletics Club in Waterford was put under the pressure by France's Ludvy Valliant around the final turn, but a strong finish put him on the podium.

Barr ran a season's best 48.31, which is also the fastest he has run since finishing fourth in the 2016 Olympic final in Rio.

Martina said; 'I know he was a little bit disgusted with how he ran in the semi final. It was unusual for him to be nervous leading up to the semi final but hen he got onto the track for the final he had a spring in his step. I held my breath all the way through the race.'

There was also great pride for the Menapians Athletics club and the Enniscorthy family of Leon Reid, who competed in the 200m final 50 minutes after Barr ran one of the races of his life.

Northern Ireland's Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Leon Reid ran 20.37 to finish seventh.

Reid had to battle to compete in the green, white and orange of Ireland. His birth mother hails from Strabane, while his foster mother is from Enniscorthy. It is the latter connection which led to him joining Menapians Wexford running club.

The IAAF Nationality Review Panel confirmed last Friday week that Reid is eligible to represent Ireland in national representative competitions. He's an Irish double national champion and will compete in the 100m and 200m events in Berlin. 'He's a top athlete,' RTÉ Sport analyst Jerry Kiernan said. 'He's actually good enough to run for Britain. It's not as if he's a 'B' athlete from Britain deciding he wants to go to major games running for Ireland. He could run for Britain as well. He wants to run for us.'

Reid previously qualified for the men's 200m final at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia. He then went on to win a bronze. He was a member of the Menapians men's team which earlier this year broke the Irish club 4 x 200m record at the National Indoor League.

Wexford People

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