29 Aug 2015

Willis through to 1500m final

8:21 am on 29 August 2015

The New Zealand runner Nick Willis is through to the final of the 1500 metres at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing.

The New Zealand runner Nick Willis.

The New Zealand runner Nick Willis. Photo: Photosport

The former Olympic silver medallist finished second in his semi-final.

Fellow New Zealander Julian Matthews failed to advance to the medal race.

Willis quickly settled into third to last on the pole line and was taken through the first 800m in a pedestrian 2:08.80.

Twice world champion and Beijing Olympics champion Asbel Kiprop of Kenya led at the bell with Willis still at the rear of the field.

Entering the back straight he sped up around the final bend to snatch second to Kiprop in 3:43.57, easily qualifying as one of the first five to finish.

Willis cut out the final 400m just over 50 seconds.

Matthews, running in the next semi-final, was found wanting over the final lap in a faster run race.

He finished in 11th place in 3:40.45, outside his personal best from Belgium in July of 3:37.37.

Matthews said that the change of speed was a bit much for him.

"It's disappointing it ended that way but it has been a good championship for me and I've learnt a lot from it, it would have been nice to have been a bit more competitive there at the end," said Matthews.

Like the heats Matthews was well placed on the inside lane mid-field.

"I did everything I could, I just didn't have it and when you don't have it you don't have it. It's a long last lap when you're off the back."

Matthews finished 16th overall.