Above: Angie Petty in action in her 800m heat in Beijing at the World Championships on Wednesday morning (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images for IAAF)
Angie Petty improved on her performance from the Moscow World Champs two years ago by making it as one of the sixth fastest losers through to the semi-finals of the 800m at World Championships in Beijing this morning.
The 24 year old drew the third of six heats and having the pole position held the lead on breaking lanes at the start of the back straight.
The World University Games 800m champion was through the 200m in 28.87, the 400m in 59.28 and steered the field past 600m in 1:30.18. Coming into the final stretch the front bunch jockeyed for a position to claim a first three automatic qualifier.
Rababe Arafi of Morocco won in 2:00.37 and Petty battled hard to hold second but was passed by Fiona Benson of Canada and Brenda Martinez (USA), Petty finishing fourth in 2:00.62, almost the same time as her fourth in the heats at the 2013 Moscow World Championships. On that occasion Petty missed out on making it to the semis.
"I was really nervous waiting on the other three heats to see if I made it, I started to have tears in my eyes as I didn't know until that last heat, I'm just so rapt, it's a dream come true," said a delighted Petty.
The four times New Zealand 800m champion was not happy that she didn't hold it right to the finish.
"I'm gutted as to how it finished, I thought I would have had more left, it always takes me that first round to get going which is not ideal so I'm hoping I'll be a way better tomorrow."
Her coach Maria Hassan had worked with Petty on how to run the first round.
"If no one else was going to take the front then I thought I should take the front, and then there's a chance of getting through on time, which is what happened. Obviously I was aiming to be top three but it didn't happen in that last bit and I kind of had those girls coming across I got a little bit boxed not that I can use that as an excuse but I just didn't have the room.
"But I'm through that's the main thing," she added.
The fifth placed at last year's Commonwealth Games, does not run as well in the morning.
"Hopefully tomorrow night I'll be a lot better and I definitely need to be well under two minutes to get through," said Petty.
Angie Petty speaking after her 800m heat
From Murray McKinnon in Beijing