Above: Nick Willis heads to the changing sheds after his 2nd place in his 1500m semifinal (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Nick Willis is comfortably through to the final of the 1500m at the World Championships in Athletics in Beijing.
The Beijing Olympic Games 1500m silver medallist was jumping out of his skin on the starting line raring to go. He 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 wound up and exploded around the final bend and rocked down the outside 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.
As in the heats the 32 year old was straight off the track and through the media mixed zone at a canter.
Julian Matthews running in the next semi-final was wanting over the final lap in a faster run race. He finished in eleventh 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."
One consolation for Matthews that he finished up overall in 16th.
"That's pretty good, I'm happy with that, coming in at 40th and finishing sixteenth. It's been an awesome experience and had a great time with the team and hopefully I can up my game for Rio," said Matthews.
Coming from Nelson Matthews' idol is Rod Dixon.
"I'd like to catch his 1500m time which is very quick, I've got to keep working."
Matthews now has a week and a half to prepare for one last race in Italy where he hopes to get a quick race.
"I'll be looking for a more even paced race, unlike tonight, as I really want an Olympic Games qualifier."
From Murray McKinnon in Beijing