Willis breaks own NZ 1500m record

John Salvado, NZ Newswire July 21, 2012, 11:06 am

Beijing Olympics 1500m silver medallist Nick Willis proved he had timed his run to the London Games perfectly by smashing his own national record at the Diamond League meet in Monte Carlo on Friday night.

Willis produced a storming final lap to cross the finish line third in three minutes 30.35 seconds, bettering the mark of 3:31.79 he set at the corresponding event last year.

Reigning Olympic champ Asbel Kiprop won in 3:28.88, the fastest time in the world this year.

Fellow Kenyan Nixon Chepseba was second in a slick race where six of the top eight recorded personal bests.

Willis went out hard before fading to fourth in the mile at last week's Diamond League meet in London in what was a bold but unsuccessful attempt to beat John Walker's 20-year-old national mark.

But the 29-year-old said that race left him in good stead to attack the 1500m in Monte Carlo.

"I really benefited from the hard effort," he said.

"I never push myself that hard in training, so getting out for a hard three laps in London really woke my system up and made this pace much more comfortable."

Willis will march in the Olympic opening ceremony before heading to a cottage outside London to put the final touches on his Games preparation in the company of his wife and coach.

"I'm very blessed to be from a small country where we select our team back in March," he said.

"I've been focusing on my training and I've only just started racing, whereas many other people have peaked for their trials and then had to regather themselves.

"So I'm on the up and up each week, hopefully.

"That's the plan anyway."

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