Published Monday 06 August 2012

Nick Willis strode confidently into the men’s 1500m final in the Olympic stadium this evening.
Willis, 29, a silver medallist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, ran within himself and qualified comfortably in third place in the faster of the two semi-finals.
The first semi-final was run at little more than a jog and was won by Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria in 3min 42.24s.
All 13 runners in the second semi-final were faster than Makhloufi.
The second semi was won by Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco in 3min 33.99s, with Kenyan Silas Kiplagat, the Commonwealth Games champion, second in 3min 34.60s.
Willis eased across the line third in 3min 34.70s.
He ran most of the race on the pole line and when the gaps opened during the last lap eased his way through the field without too much discomfort.
Willis said he was happy with his run.
“The race was a lot faster than I expected,” he said. “I have to make sure I get rid of the lactic acid in my legs now.”
Willis, the New Zealand team captain in London, is certainly a big meet runner.
At his first Olympics, at Athens in 2004, he did well to make the semi-finals. Then came his Beijing heroics in 2008.
At Commonwealth Games level – not to be under-rated because of the presence of the African middle-distance runners – he has won gold and bronze medals. In addition, he has made world championship finals.
The men’s 1500m final is on Tuesday evening.