Olympics: Willis 'went backwards' - Sir John Walker

By Hayden Donnell

New Zealand runner Nick Willis after his disappointing run in the Men's 1500m final at the 2012 Olympics. Photo / Brett Phibbs
New Zealand runner Nick Willis after his disappointing run in the Men's 1500m final at the 2012 Olympics. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Sir John Walker has expressed his disappointment at Nick Willis' failure to deliver a medal in the 1500m final at the London Olympics.

The former champion runner, who earned a place in New Zealand sporting history by winning 1500m gold in the 1976 games, believed Willis would pull away from his competitors in the final stretch this morning.

Instead the 29-year-old faded badly in the last 300m of the race, eventually dropping to ninth place.

Sir John said he was stunned to see Willis fail to push himself into contention after a strong build up to the games.

He expected him to deliver a medal and thought there was a strong chance of a gold win.

"I thought he would move with 300 to go and he didn't move he went backwards.

I was just shocked because he's promised us a lot... I was hoping he would get this one today because I thought this was his opportunity. His chance.

"I don't want to condemn the boy. But I was disappointed because I expected more."

A training issue or a problem with his recovery could have limited Willis in the final, Sir John said.

"At the end of the day only he knows what went wrong. He's the one that's going to suffer most."

Sir John said Willis should now wipe the slate clean and focus on the rest of his career.

Willis this afternoon took to Twitter to explain what may have been behind his performance in the race.

"On reflection my poor performance wasn't likely a miss-timed peak, but inability to recover from rounds. How to fix that is the Q," he said.

He was thankful for the "overwhelming" support he had received.

"This Olympics has still been an amazing unique chapter in life."

- APNZ

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