News & Updates

21 August 2023 • Track and Field

Tanner exits the 1500m at the semifinal stage

Sam Tanner acknowledges men’s 1500m semifinal victor Jakob Ingebrigtsen inside the National Athletics Centre. Credit: (Michael Dawson).

Sam Tanner, the sole Kiwi in action during the afternoon session on day 2 of the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, was eliminated from the men’s 1500m after placing eighth (3:36.58) in the second semifinal.

With the first six finishes securing a final spot, the 22-year-old finished with a vicious kick down the home straight but gave himself too much to do and missed out on his bid to join Sir John Walker and Nick Willis as the other Kiwis to have made men’s 1500m finals at a World Athletics Championships.

The semifinal win was secured by Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway, who cheekily called for the fans to raise the noise level as he entered the final 100m, in 3:34.98.

Papamoa-based Tanner came into the World Athletics Championships with high expectations after enjoying a series of excellent performances on the North American indoor circuit and more recently outdoors in Europe. He set a 1500m PB of 3:31.24 to place fifth in the Silesia Diamond League in July and was optimistic of a strong showing inside the National Athletics Centre.

Confident of his finishing speed he opted to run towards the back of the pack, although around 600m he caught the heels of another athlete, stumbled and lost crucial momentum. Great Britain’s Josh Kerr led the field through 800m in 2:00.30 but at the bell Tanner was still towards the back of the field and had a lot of ground to make up on the top six.

He started to make his move down the back stretch, making significant ground from the inside rail. However, the gap was just too large and despite moving out and launching a spirited finish on this occasion he was to be outgunned and he had to settle for eighth – matching the same finishing position he achieved in the semifinal at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene.

Kerr, the 2020 Olympic 1500m bronze medallist, grabbed second behind Ingebrigtsen in 3:35.14 with American Cole Hocker (3:35.23) in third. Reynold Cheruiyot of Kenya banked the sixth and final qualification spot in 3:35.53. Also exiting the competition – one place behind Tanner – in ninth was 2019 world champion Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya in 3:37.40.

Yared Nuguse of the US – training partner to New Zealand’s men’s steeplechase finalist George Beamish – claimed victory in the first semifinal in 3:32.69 to top the qualifiers for the final which takes place on Thursday (NZ time).

Tanner said: “I’m pretty disappointed because I know my fitness should reflect something different. But I can’t complain, when you are competing against such a high-quality field, and the boys in the final deserve to be there. Bittersweet – but I’m still happy to be here.”

Six Kiwis are in action in the afternoon session on day three of the World Athletics Championships on Tuesday (22 August).

All times NZ.

04.40 – Women’s pole vault qualification – Imogen Ayris, Eliza McCartney, Olivia McTaggart

04.50 – Women’s 400m hurdles first round heat one – Portia Bing

06:30 – Men’s discus final – Connor Bell

06:35 – Women’s 100m semifinals – Zoe Hobbs

07:50 – Women’s 100m final – Zoe Hobbs TBC

*Follow timetable/results here

*Profiles of all 19 New Zealand athletes competing in Budapest plus a full schedule of when the Kiwis are competing can be seen here