BY ATHLETICS NEW ZEALAND: Olympic Games 1500m silver medallist Nick Willis produced a qualifying time for the world athletic championships in Moscow in August with an impressive 1500m victory in 3m 34.68s in Sydney on Saturday evening.
Willis reaped the benefit of a solid pace provided by Australian Collis Birmingham and was able to sprint past Australian record holder Ryan Gregson on the last lap. Gregson was second in 3m 35.25s with former New Zealander James Kaan third in 3m 37.02s.
Willis’ time was also a meeting record, clipping a fraction off Gregson’s time of 3m 35.42s from three years ago. He said it was good to get a win in Australia, his first since winning the Commonwealth Games 1500m in Melbourne in 2006.
Willis now returns to his home in Michigan to train towards the world championships and to await the birth of his first child in July.
London Olympic shot put gold medallist Valerie Adams won the shot put with a fifth round effort of 20.02m. Her next competition will be at the New Zealand championships at Mt Smart Stadium in two weeks where she will be going for her twelfth national title.
Further wins by New Zealand athletes were Michael Cochrane with a personal best 400m hurdles in 50.07s, Liz Lamb in the high jump clearing 1.84m and Tom Walsh in the shot put going within two centimetres of his career best with 19.81m. Personal bests were recorded by Fiona Morrison in the 100m hurdles clocking 13.48s, Joseph Millar with his time of 20.81s in the 200m and Brad Mathas who was third in the 800m in 1m 49.34s.