Nick Willis ran a brilliant tactical race in Sydney tonight, broke the A qualifying standard for the world championships in Moscow in August, and thanked an unusual training partner, his dog.
At the Sydney track classic at Olympic Park, Willis ran 3m 34.68s, just inside the demanding world standard of 3m 35s, and said he had been training well during his time at home, "running the lovely trails of New Zealand with my dog."
He also thanked Victorian runner, Collis Birmingham, who set the pace perfectly for the first 800 metres, reaching 400m in 56.5s, and 800 in 1m 55.2s.
The heat then went on from Sydney's Ryan Gregson, but in home straight Willis was commanding, gliding past Gregson to the line.
He was full of praise for he pace making of Birmingham, and the fight out up by Gregson.
"I couldn't have done it (run the qualifying time) without them. I'm grateful to them, and very, very happy with the result. Qualifying for worlds was what I came here to do."
Valerie Adams, by contrast, was in a league of her own in the women's shot put, with real competition.
As happened in Auckland last weekend Cleopatra Borel from Trinidad and Tobago, was consistently over 16 metres, with a terrific final throw of 17.10 metres.
But Adams was peppering the 20 metres mark.
Any other thrower in the world would have been delighted with a series of 19.45, 19.97, 19.92, and 19.79, but Adams was displeased until she was finally, in the fifth round, was able to hit the target she was aiming for, when she reached 20.02 metres.
The highly promising South Islander, Tom Walsh, competing with Adams in a combined men's and women's field, was close to 20 metres, reaching 19.81 metres.
The qualifying mark for the men's shot put for Moscow is 20.60 metres, which seems within Walsh's reach.
- © Fairfax NZ News