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McKnight, Buckman into 1500 semis
John Salvado
22:07 AEST Mon Aug 6 2012

Australian Kaila McKnight was rewarded for a brave bout of front-running with a berth in the women's 1500m semi-finals at the London Olympics.

With the pace sluggish in the second of three first-round heats, McKnight surged to the front with a lap to go.

The 26-year-old Victorian led for more than 200 metres and was able to maintain her spot inside the top six automatic qualifying places, finishing fifth in four minutes 13.80 seconds.

Countrywoman Zoe Buckman also snuck into Wednesday's semi-finals.

Buckman, 23, was eighth in the much quicker concluding heat in 4:07.83.

Abeba Aregawi of Ethiopia led the qualifying times with 4:04.55.

Fellow Australian Jeff Riseley was furious with himself after a second successive Olympic flop saw him eliminated in the opening round of the men's 800m.

Having gone within a whisker of Ralph Doubell's 44-year-old 800m national record of 1:44.40 last month in Italy, the 25-year-old Riseley came into the London Games with high hopes.

But he slumped to fifth in his heat in 1:46.99 behind Kenyan world record holder David Rudisha.

Riseley had qualified for the 800m and the 1500m in London before deciding to focus on the shorter event.

McKnight was feeling comfortable when she hit the lead with a lap to go in the 1500m.

"I like a long kick," she said.

"I tightened up a bit and I was expecting someone to challenge me a bit earlier, but I was watching the screens.

"At 100 metres to go, I thought to myself 'well, they can't all catch me' and I was counting them go by."

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