Athletics: Willis eases into world champs semifinals

New Zealand athlete Nick Willis easily qualified for the semifinals after finishing second in his heat of the 1500m at the world championships in Daegu, South Korea, today.

Willis, the Olympic silver medallist, is aiming to finish among the medals at a world championships for the first time and showed he's in good form ahead of Thursday night's (NZT) semifinals.

He finished second in a time of 3min 39.24sec. Daniel Komen of Kenya, who at one stage opened up a 20m-gap on the field, won in a time of 3:38.54.

Willis came in as the third-fastest entrant in the field - the 28-year-old ran his fastest 1500m time of 3:31.79 in Monaco last month and has backed it up with two other sub-3m:35.00 times in the past eight weeks - but will face stiff competition from Commonwealth champion Silas Kiplagat, Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop (both Kenya) and Moroccan Amine Laalou in the later rounds.

Should Willis get through the semifinals, the final is scheduled for Saturday night (NZT).


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