"It's insane. I'm getting shivers down my spine" - Thomas Barr reacts to landmark achievement

He just missed out on a medal but he also did something that hadn't been done by an Irishman since the '30s

Thomas Barr

Ireland's Tomas Barr after finishing fourth ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

He missed out on an Olympic medal by just 0.05 seconds but for Thomas Barr there is good reason for boundless optimism about the future.

The 24-year-old set a national record in his 400 metre hurdle semi-final to reach Thursday's final and broke that mark to finish fourth. 

"It was the right time to run a lifetime best and to get myself on the map because not only is it that the Olympics is the biggest stage in sport but to perform when it comes to the crunch times, I'm delighted that I was able to handle that," he told Off The Ball as he reflected on a landmark Games for him after injury issues had hampered him in recent months.

"It was only three or four days ago when I actually realised that I could probably do something in this championship because even up to the last week of training, things weren't going well but it's only in the last two sessions that things really started to click.

Ireland's Tomas Barr on his way to finishing fourth ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

"I've surpassed not only my own expectations and everything but also everybody's expectations in what I was going to be able to do. There's part of me that wonders what would have happened if I'd had an unhampered year but there's part of me wondering - my parents often say 'everything happens for a reason' and that could have been just the reason."

But the fact is that he was the first Irish sprinter to make an Olympic final since 1932.

"It's insane. I'm getting shivers down my spine as you're saying it. It's insane. I cannot put words on what  I've achieved," he said to Ger Gilroy when that stat was brought up. 

"It's the Olympics. It's the biggest sporting stage in the world and I'm just after coming fourth in a top class field. Every athlete out there - it only comes around every four years - is at the top of their game. They would have made the Olympic games their priority in the last four years so it's not like they're coming out here off their top [form]. They've really focused on this so it's an insane achievement and I'm really looking forward to actually seeing what the next two years can bring because I definitely believe I have more in me." 

Barr also discussed his earlier comments about the issue of doping and that it is "unfair to hear that other countries' anti-doping policies aren't as good as Ireland's".