New Zealand middle distance runners Nick Willis and Nikki Hamblin are approaching the New Delhi Commonwealth Games from opposite directions but with remarkably similar perspectives.

Willis has a Commonwealth Games 1500m gold medal from Melbourne in 2006 and an Olympic silver from Beijing two years ago.

With wide-ranging experience racing in Europe, he has competed at indoor and outdoor world athletics championships and has a slew of quality times which give his bid for another Commonwealth Games title real authority.

A combination of hip and knee injuries has dogged the Michigan-based New Zealander since the 2008 Olympics, but an uninterrupted training block has been topped with some promising early races and 27-year-old Willis is confident of a good showing in New Delhi.

At 22, England-born Hamblin first donned the black singlet at last year's world championships, just a month after receiving her New Zealand citizenship.

A promising talent from her early teens, Hamblin's running career has until recently been dogged by injury.

But a carefully managed programme masterminded by Auckland coach Chris Pilone has proven effective, and Hamblin has thrived on a steep learning curve over the last year.

Running on limited international experience, a fall in the world championships 800m last year has paradoxically given her real encouragement going into the Commonwealth Games: when it comes to championship racing, anything can happen to anyone.

Both Willis and Hamblin have a similar philosophy when it comes to the New Delhi Games: concentrate purely on making the final -- once you're there, anything is possible.

Willis still remembers fondly his breakthrough race in the Melbourne 1500m final four years ago.

"Just coming down the home straight wondering why `aren't they coming, why aren't they coming'?

"Then being able to do the victory lap and just savour every second of it - you couldn't top that."

At least, not until the Beijing 2008 Olympics, when Willis ran third behind Bahrain's Rashid Ramzi and Kenyan Asbel Kiprop.

Promoted to silver after Ramzi tested positive to a banned blood booster, Willis has bounced back from his injury woes and is looking forward to returning to top form.

"It wasn't really until mid July that we were able to start training at 100 percent, but since then it's been pretty flawless," he told NZPA.

"I've been able to do some really long runs most importantly, stuff that I haven't done for the last few years."

The sheer enjoyment of being able to push himself in training again is obvious. Long Sunday runs have provided a solid base, finished off with quality speed workouts and, finally, racing.

Willis won over 1500m in Milan early this month, a solid time of three minutes 35.17 seconds against a field which included current world champion Yusuf Kamel, of Bahrain.

He also contested the prestigious Fifth Avenue Mile in New York last weekend, finishing sixth in 3min 54.81sec.

Willis is not worrying about his opposition in New Delhi too much, with any one of a multitude of speedy Kenyans a potential threat at the start line, as well as a strong selection of Australian, South African and English competitors.

"You just have to run your own race and make sure you stick to your own plan.

"You've got to adjust when other people make moves, but at the end of the day, it's 12 guys on the start line. We've all done similar types of training so it comes down to who's the best man on the day."

Four years ago, the Melbourne Games passed by the Hamblin radar with barely a ripple.

"I was in the middle of my two years in the darklands of no running, and being frustrated with injury all the time."

This time, nearing top form and with a useful bank of international experience, Hamblin is poised to make her mark.

She has been racing in Europe since mid-June, mixing three weeks of training with three weeks' racing for some promising results.

Running both 1500m and 800m in New Delhi, Hamblin has set personal bests over both distances: a 4min 5.93sec over 1500m in July backed up with an excellent 1min 59.66sec 800m effort this month.

"I don't think I've quite hit my peak yet, but I'm coming into it now," she told NZPA.

Hamblin's strength probably means the 1500m will be her best chance, but that sub-2min 800m time could also see her threaten over the shorter distance.

"The thing with championship racing is get into the final - my goals are getting into there, and then you never what's going to happen."

- NZPA