Willis scrapes into 1500m final before collapsing

CONCERN: Nick Willis is stretchered off following the men's 1500 metres semifinals.
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CONCERN: Nick Willis is stretchered off following the men's 1500 metres semifinals.

Nick Willis qualified for the final of the men's 1500m at the world athletics championships last night thanks to running in the fastest of the semifinals.

Willis ran in the second heat and moved into Saturday's final as the second of two fastest times outside the automatic qualifiers.

The Kiwi's heat was won by Kenyan Asbel Kiprop in 3min 36sec, 12sec fastest than the first heat when the field ambled for three-quarters of the race.

Willis collapsed at the end of the race and was stretchered from the track after suffering from dehydration, but it's understood he will be OK to run in the final tomorrow night.

Willis settled in the middle of the field and tracked Kiprop for two laps before getting into the clear in the straight.

While he cut his run fine, he seemed to know exactly what he had to do to qualify - finish in the first seven in the heat - and he did that by a metre as some of the earlier front-runners tired in the straight.

Willis had the third best time this year of the 25 semifinalists, and last month ran a New Zealand record of 3min 31sec in Monaco. Last night he recorded 3min 37.39sec suggesting he has plenty in reserve for the final.

Daniel Komen of Kenya who made the pace in Willis's heat failed to qualify for the final.

New Zealand's Stuart Farquhar tossed the javelin out to 82.10m in the first round of his qualifying competition to top his group and move easily into Saturday's final.

Farquhar continued his good form of 2011 finishing third overall, just 1.67 metres behind top qualifier Guillermo Martinez of Cuba. He headed 12 athletes ranked ahead of him this year.

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