31 Aug 2015

Willis disappointed with sixth in 1500m final

6:41 am on 31 August 2015

The New Zealand runner Nick Willis again fell short of gaining a medal at a World Championships after finishing sixth in the final of the 1500m in Beijing.

The New Zealand runner Nick Willis.

The New Zealand runner Nick Willis. Photo: Photosport

The silver medallist at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games could not lift himself over the final lap, failing to repeat his explosive finish in the semi-final.

He finished with a time of 3:35.46.

In a mad dash to the finish, twice world champion and Beijing Olympic gold medallist Asbel Kiprop surged to victory in 3:34.40, beating Kenyan compatriot Elija Manangoi and Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco.

Although it was Willis' highest placing improving on tenth in 2007 he was still disillusioned.

"I had a sort of vision this morning of walking up the media stand without a medal feeling really annoyed that I didn't get to do a celebration lap, and I'm not going to waiver to do to make that not happen, it happened, I left everything on the track there wasn't really anything else I could've done tactically my legs were shot today for some reason just the rounds cumulative effect must have caught up to me," he said.

After the semi-final. Willis felt he was in with a chance.

"The way the last two heats have gone I felt like I'd become a new athlete so I guess I got my hopes pretty high and I thought if I'm within half a second at the bell it's in the bag here, but for what ever reason I didn't handle the three rounds quite as well as some of my competitors."

"I just felt tired, through 1m 59s through the 800m I'm surprised I finished as well as I did to be honest."

"Kiprop's performance was pretty amazing considering the rumour was that he had the flu this morning. He's been running phenomenally this later half of the season, he's the man of the moment," said Willis.

Willis says he's still keen on a tilt at next year's Rio Olympics, though he hasn't committed fully just yet.

"The way I felt in that semi-final I was ready to rip and roll, I'm not sure what else I can do in my preparation I couldn't have asked for a better year really so we'll have to have a think about that one, before next year," he added.

His coach Ron Warhurst, said that it was disappointing it didn't go to plan.

"Everybody is a little disappointed but sixth is sixth," he said.

Warhurst couldn't point to what went wrong.

"I don't know. I thought he was ready, he thought he was ready, he felt good this morning but said that his legs got a little heavy at 800m, and I don't understand that, but it's my job to figure it out before next year.

"The preparation was good, we always tweak things here and there you can't keep doing the same things every year for 13 years, you learn from the mistakes you learn from the positive as well as the negative and you hope you build and prepare to the right little formulae so we'll just tweak it a little bit and go again, we're not changing anything major."