Nick Willis says he was pleased he was able to be "competitive'' at the world track and field championships after an injury-disrupted buildup.
The Beijing Olympic Games 1500m silver medallist finished seventh in his heat in the semifinals at Moscow this morning and missed a place in Monday's final.
Running in the first semi-final Willis finished in 3m 43.80s. With the first five in each semi plus the next two fastest through to the final, Willis' only hope of a berth was a slower run second semi.
That was not to be, with ironically his training partner Nate Brannen (Canada) snaring the final spot in the final with his seventh place in 3m 36.59s in second semi-final.
"I'm really happy for Nate Brannen a long time training partner of mine, not as much any more. He's never made a final before and that looked like a gruelling home straight that he made it in.
"He got tripped up in the semi-final last year in the race I was in - so he's been away the whole year towards that point and he's made it through now so I'm really happy for him. The Kenyans are going to be really tough to beat," said Willis.
Willis said that he felt a lot better than he did in the heats of the 1500m.
"I don't know whether it was nerves, whether it was coming over late, I just felt so run down before the prelim - I slept about ninety minutes the whole night before the first round and it was a morning race, which is like the middle of the night in America.
"Maybe I was so nervous because I haven't raced for so long - it wasn't until I got that first race under my belt I was finally able to relax," he said.
"But I didn't want to come over too early because I've just had a new baby, but I've had two good nights sleep and I felt a million bucks today relative to where my training is, so I'm actually not that disappointed to be honest, at least I was competitive as opposed to off the back," he said.
"The main influence was the injury sustained in Shanghai (mid-May). I didn't run a step for four weeks nor could I cross train at all other than swimming with just my arms because I popped the muscle at the top of my calf. Even if you take weight bearing off you're still contracting that muscle so that was the main hindrance."
"I did my first work out the day before my son[Lachlan] was born and he's just turned six weeks today - so that's basically where I am at."
Willis said that he just loves family life.
"Being in love again is an amazing feeling, I watch videos of him and I can't take this smile off my face.
"I sleep through all his crying during the night for some reason, my wife has to shake me awake to change the diapers or nappies - I'm happy to do everything I can, but there is only so much a man can do.
"It's pretty arduous for my wife, she's been extremely supportive, so I haven't missed any sleep in this preparation except for when I left them and got here," said Willis.
Willis said that a month ago he wasn't sure if he would come to the world championships.
"I'm glad I did. I did a 1200m time trial in 2m 53s and decided to come. But you've got to be able to do that and then kick off that, it meant though that I at least had enough fitness that there was hope that it might come.
"My brother [Steve] wrote before this race and gave me an analogy - that it's like when you put a cake in the oven it just sits there and sits there and suddenly it rises - we were hoping it would rise today in time and it almost did. I'm not that upset at my performance there," said Willis.
- © Fairfax NZ News