Athletics: Nick Willis fourth in mile event

By David Leggat

Nick Willis. Photo / AP
Nick Willis. Photo / AP

New Zealand runner Nick Willis finished fourth in the one mile at the Oslo Diamond League meet in Oslo today.

Willis, in training mode building up to August's Rio Games, was, along with the rest of the field, unable to stay with Kenya's three-time world champion Asbel Kiprop.

The Kenyan shot clear of the field, with two pacemakers for company, inside the first half of the opening lap and won in 3min 51.48s, the world best time this year.

Fellow Kenyan Elijah Manangoi was second in 3:52.04, Algerian Taoufik Makhloufi was third in 3:52.24, with Willis clocking 3:52.26, dipping hard at the line but unable to pip Makhloufi.

As the field turned into the sprint home, Kiprop was a picture of serenity, as if out on an afternoon training run, while the faces of the chasers were showing the strain of the pursuit.

Kiprop, 26, and Willis are longstanding rivals. The Kenyan was awarded the Olympic 1500m gold medal in Beijing eight years ago after Rashid Ramzi was thrown out for failing a doping test. That promoted Willis to the silver medal.

Willis' personal best for the mile is 3:49.83, set in Oslo two years ago. The world record is the longstanding 3:43.13 of Moroccan star Hicham el Guerrouj in Rome in 1999.

- NZ Herald

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