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Caution costs Willis in Oslo

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/06/2016

Nick Willis earlier this year in March when he placed third in the 1500m during the 2016 IAAF World Championships in Athletics © USA Today Sports Nick Willis earlier this year in March when he placed third in the 1500m during the 2016 IAAF World Championships in Athletics A lack of late-race confidence has cost Nick Willis a top placing in the mile at the Bislett Games in Norway.

The Beijing Olympics 1500m silver medallist clocked a season's best three minutes 52.26 seconds in a race which was dominated by three-time world champion Asbel Kiprop.

The pacy Kenyan led from the gun, and although he eased up over the closing stages, still won in a world-leading 3:51.48.

Willis had targeted Sir John Walker's long-standing New Zealand record of 3:49.08, set on the same track 24 years ago.

He kept out of trouble towards the back of the large field early on in Oslo as Kiprop, aided by pacemakers, stretched out to a huge lead, but delayed making a move in the closing laps and was left with too much ground to make up.

On the plus side, a storming sprint down the home straight showed Willis still has plenty of power and pace, but the 33-year-old Kiwi was left frustrated and disappointed with his overall performance.

"All my bad habits came to fruition in the last two laps tonight," he said on Twitter immediately after the race.

He said he had run too cautiously over the last 600m.

"Allowed everyone to swamp me, and wasted any chance I had at a top finish."

Willis began his run-in to the Rio Olympics last weekend at the Diamond League meeting in Birmingham, clocking a solid 3:34.29 over 1500m to finish third, nearly five seconds down on Kiprop's winning time of 3:29.33.

Willis has an all-time mile best of 3:49.83 from the Bislett Games two years ago.

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