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Melbourne-based New Zealand runner Brad Mathas today turned in a personal best effort of 1min 46.32s to qualify for the men’s 800m final on April 12.

Mathas, 24, drew the first heat and hung on to the pace-setters well enough to finish fourth. There was a cut-throat qualifying system – the first two from each heat, plus the two fastest qualifiers. Mathas had to sit through the remaining two heats and hope his time held up.

Happily, his time was not bettered and he was through. “I’m so, so happy,” he said. “There have been so many years or hard grind. I can’t believe it – it was a pretty tough qualifying system.”

Mathas was delighted to have run a personal best.

“I feel there is definitely more there. At the start, the pace was fairly quick, but I was feeling cruisey, just trying to stay in contact with the top four. Maybe I should have been a little closer to them, but it turned out OK.”

There wasn’t such good news today for Cameron French, New Zealand’s competitor in the men’s 400m hurdles.

French ran 50.60s and finished 14th of the first round losers, with eight going through to the final.

“I don’t know what happened,” he said afterwards. “I just didn’t have the spark there. I worked as hard as IK could out there and I trained well, but I couldn’t put it together today.

“I’m disappointed I wasn’t even able to break 50 seconds.”

Brad Mathas Cameron French Joseph Millar Athletics
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