Beijing Olympic silver medalist Nick Willis has stormed home over the final 50 metres of his heat in the 1500m to automatically qualify for the event's semifinal.

Despite sitting in ninth place with around 100 metres left to run, Willis showed great form in weaving his way through the pack to finish sixth in a time of 3:38.55 and qualify for the semifinals which take place on Friday morning.

However, it wasn't good news for fellow New Zealanders Hamish Carson and Julian Matthews who both failed to qualify out of their heats in the same event.