17 Aug 2016

Olympics: Willis makes semis with strong finish

5:42 am on 17 August 2016

Rio 2016 Olympics - NZ's 1500m specialist, Nick Willis, has qualified for the semifinals.

Nick Willis during an athletics press conference at the Main Press Centre. Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014. Scotland. Friday 25 July 2014.

Middle distance runner Nick Willis has qualified for the semifinal in the men's 1500m in Rio. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Willis ran most of the race at the back of the field but came through in a strong finish down the straight to place sixth and advance to the semis in a time of 3min 38.5s.

Willis, 33, is competing at his fourth Olympics.

The other New Zealanders in the 1500m, Julian Matthews and Hamish Carson, failed to make the semifinals.

Matthews finished ninth in his heat, in 3min 40.40s and Carson, in a disappointing performance, also finished ninth in his heat.

In other events, pole vaulter Eliza McCartney qualified for the Olympic final, clearing 4.60m in qualifying after causing some nervous moments for New Zealand supporters by having two misses at 4.45m.

One more miss and she would have been eliminated.

New Zealand's marathon swimmer Kane Radford finished 19th in the men's marathon swim. The 25-year-old finished the race in 1h 53m 18.7s in a tight race over the challenging 10km course.

The race was won by Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands in 1h 52m 59.8s.

Cyclist Sam Webster put in a strong performance in the qualifying round of the men's keirin, with a time of 10.329s to go through to the second round. However his teammate Eddie Dawkins, who had to win his heat in the first round repechage to advance, was pipped on the line.

- RNZ

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