Willis overcomes doubts to win bronze

Author
Charlie Bristow,
Publish Date
Sun, 21 Aug 2016, 12:43PM
Willis poses for the cameras after winning a medal in the 1500m at Rio (PHOTOSPORT)

Willis overcomes doubts to win bronze

Author
Charlie Bristow,
Publish Date
Sun, 21 Aug 2016, 12:43PM

UPDATED 2.18PM: Nick Willis has overcome a late crisis of confidence to win New Zealand’s 18th medal of the Rio Olympics.

LISTEN ABOVE: NICK WILLIS TALKS TO TONY VEITCH ABOUT HIS MEDAL WIN

Willis has claimed bronze in the men’s 1500 metres, eight years on from securing silver in Beijing.

It’s New Zealand’s fourth track and field medal of the Games – equal with their best return in Tokyo 1964.

Willis was well placed after the first two laps and was amongst the leading pack heading into the final lap, holding on to finish behind USA and Algeria.

Willis said he’s thankful the race started slowly as he started to doubt himself in the last 30 minutes before the final.

"I knew I was fit but I wasn't sure if I had the willingness to be aggressive in the race early on," he said. "I was really fearful that I would fade in the last hundred and get passed by people."

After seizing third place, with a time of three minutes 50.24 seconds, just over two tenths of a second off first place, Willis said it was satisfying personally.

"I wasn't really doing it for anyone else. I love New Zealand, I love my family, I love my coach, all of that. But there was really an internal motivation that was coming just to prove to myself that I still had it."

American Matt Centrowitz has won gold ahead of Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi.