Published Wednesday 08 August 2012

Nick Willis finished ninth in the men’s 1500m final at the Olympic stadium this evening.
Willis, a silver medallist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, had looked in excellent form in his two qualifying races, but when the pace went on in the final, he found he couldn’t respond.
The race was won by Algerian Taoufik Makhloufi in 3min 34.08s, from American Leonel Manzano (3min 34.79s) and current world 1500m indoor champion Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco (3min 35.13s).
Willis was timed at 3min 36.94s and afterwards was at a loss to explain why he had not been more of a factor over the final stages.
“I felt like I got the perfect opportunity out there,” he said.
“I was able to conserve energy by staying on the pole in the first two laps and I felt that with 500 metres to go I was in the perfect position. Some slots opened up for me and I was ideally placed and couldn’t capitalise.
“When the pace picked up and I went with it, that was all I had.
“It’s heartbreaking after all the work I’ve put into it this year.
“I was trying to go as fast as I could and I had nothing. Guys were flying by me.”
Willis said the race was reminiscent of what happened to him in the 2011 world championships final.
“Something obviously wasn’t right. I got very tired.
“My legs felt a bit heavy before the start, but that’s what you would expect with three races in five days. I assumed everyone felt the same. I felt good in my strideouts [before the race].”
Willis, 29, ran his career best 1500m time of 3min 30.35s last month.
“It was a bit embarrassing, coming here with such good credentials and running like that,” he said.