Kiwi athletics team on track for medals
Fri, 03 Aug 2012 6:07p.m.
By Melissa Davies, in London
One of Nick Willis' toughest competitors from Djibouti hasn't made the Olympic start list meaning Willis has gone from fifth to fourth fastest in his event, and the middle-distance runner says it gives him an even better chance of a podium finish.
And Willis might not be the only Kiwi runner to win a medal, as the women's triathletes compete this weekend too.
After the excitement of the opening ceremony Willis has buried his head in books and sleep, saving every slither of energy for the track.
Three Kenyans sit in front of him on the list of fastest lap times for the 1500m and he knows it isn’t going to be easy.
“They're going to be very tough but they're going to be playing team tactics, normally team tactics favour one person, not all three, and can be a challenge because each person has to play their task,” says Willis.
On paper, Willis has moved from fifth to fourth fastest in the race because a competitor from Djibouti has not made the start list, and marathon runner Kimberley Smith will also be battling the Kenyans for the top spots. She says the flat London course suits her but it suits them too.
“The African runners, which would be the favourites, they suit anything, but it's an interesting course as well with a lot of turns and twists and cobblestones so I feel like it is a bit of an unpredictable course,” says Smith.
Triathlete Andrea Hewitt knows exactly what to expect when she competes tomorrow. She's been training on the course for three years and believes a podium finish is possible.
“It's very realistic,” says Hewitt. “I've been on the podium three times this year in world events and last year.
"I finished second in the world too, so there's so many times I've beaten the girls and they've beaten me. It's so close on the finish line.”
Just seconds will separate them from their competitors, but these Kiwi athletes won't settle for second.
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