Wellington’s Willis lines up for 5th Olympic 1500 metres tomorrow

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Nick Willis of Lower Hutt, Wellington starts in his 5th Olympic campaign tomorrow.

Picture: Willis and Sam Tanner post race at the Team Ledger Harcourts Capital  Classic 2019

At 12.27pm tomorrow Nick Willis will line up in an Olympic 1500 metres race at the age of 38 for the twelfth time. Willis, who spends his time with family between his twin home bases of Michigan and Lower Hutt, will set an amazing record in the Tokyo Olympic Stadium tomorrow. As a passionate student of his sport will realise the significance of his achievement and no doubt spend a moment recalling the venue where over the years growing up he would have watched replays of the 1964 1500m final with Peter Snell and John Davies capturing gold and bronze respectively for New Zealand.

Willis began his career internationally alongside Val Adams almost 20 years ago finishing 4th in the 2002 World Junior Championship in Jamaica, then heading to Michigan University before debuting at Athens in 2004, at the young age of 21 years the only time he did not make the final, finishing a close 6th in the semis.

Willis has an array of major championship medals to go with his Olympic silver and bronze, including a World Indoor Championships bronze in 2016, and three Commonwealth Games medals, gold in 2006 and bronze in 2010 and 2014.

Willis will line up in Heat 3  with some very formidable opposition  looking for a top 6 or one of the 6 fastest non automatic qualifiers across the three heats to progress to the Semi finals. His opposition will include in form Australian Stewart McSweyn and Norway’s’ Jakob Ingebrigtsen, along with a host of very talented African runners.

Prior to Willis,  in heat 2 will be 20 year old Tauranga 1500m runner Sam  Tanner in his Olympic debut. tanner will be starting out on what is hoped another 1500m career to alongside his fellow kiwi.

Other New Zealander athletes to feature tomorrow will be Julia Ratcliffe in the Women’s hammer final and Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill in Shot Put qualifying

Nick Willis – Olympic Record

Place Event Time Round Olympics Venue Date
3. 1500 Metres 3:50.24 F Rio de Janeiro Estádio Olímpico, Rio de Janeiro (BRA) 20 AUG 2016
3. 1500 Metres 3:39.96 SF1 Rio de Janeiro Estádio Olímpico, Rio de Janeiro (BRA) 18 AUG 2016
6. 1500 Metres 3:38.55 H3 Rio de Janeiro Estádio Olímpico, Rio de Janeiro (BRA) 16 AUG 2016
9. 1500 Metres 3:36.94 F London Olympic Stadium, London (GBR) 07 AUG 2012
3. 1500 Metres 3:34.70 SF2 London Olympic Stadium, London (GBR) 05 AUG 2012
1. 1500 Metres 3:40.92 H3 London Olympic Stadium, London (GBR) 03 AUG 2012
2. 1500 Metres 3:34.16 F Beijing National Stadium, Beijing (CHN) 19 AUG 2008
4. 1500 Metres 3:37.54 SF2 Beijing National Stadium, Beijing (CHN) 17 AUG 2008
2. 1500 Metres 3:36.01 H1 Beijing National Stadium, Beijing (CHN) 15 AUG 2008
6. 1500 Metres 3:41.46 SF2 Athens Olympic Stadium, Athina (GRE) 22 AUG 2004
3. 1500 Metres 3:39.80 H2 Athens Olympic Stadium, Athina (GRE) 20 AUG 2004