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Silver Medalist Willis To Focus On 1500m - RRW

Published by
RunnerSpace.com/Pro   on May 3 2012, 02:44 PM

SILVER MEDALLIST WILLIS TO FOCUS ON 1500M
By David Monti
(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

(03-May) -- After his tenth place finish over 5000m at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational last Sunday in Palo Alto, Calif., reigning Olympic 1500m silver medalist Nick Willis has decided that he will focus on his medal-winning distance for the 2012 season, including the London Olympics.

"Great meeting with my coaches and wife today," he posted to his Twitter feed last night.  "The 5000m was a nice idea, but decided that we don't need to keep chasing 'A' standard."

Willis, 29, from Lower Hutt, New Zealand, clocked 13:29.56 at the Palo Alto meet, just two seconds off of his career best but more than nine seconds off of the Olympic Games "A" standard of 13:20.00.  Trained by former University of Michigan head coach Ron Warhurst, Willis thinks that the 1500m provides his best chance for Olympic success.

"The 1500m will now be my sole focus of the Olympics, and we have a great plan set in place," the Reebok-sponsored athlete tweeted. "Blessed to have such wise council!"

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Willis crossed the finish line third in the 1500m and received the bronze medal at the victory ceremony.  Later, race winner Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain was disqualified for doping, elevating Kenya's Asbel Kiprop to the gold medal position, and Willis to silver.

The 2008 Fifth Avenue Mile champion, Willis remains a medal threat at 1500m.  During the 2011 season, he broke his own 1500m national record, clocking 3:31.79 at the Herulis meeting in Monaco.  He's broken 3:33.00 five times over his career, and has run 3:50.66 for the mile.  Willis was also the 2006 Commonwealth Games 1500m gold medalist, and won the 2005 NCAA indoor mile title for the University of Michigan.

PHOTO: Nick Willis (left) edging Bernard Lagat at the 2008 Fifth Avenue Mile (photo by Jonathan Cooper; used with permission)

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