Willis ‘beaten by bunnies’ - Walker
Wed, 08 Aug 2012 11:35a.m.
By 3 News online staff
Former Olympian Sir John Walker has criticised Nick Willis’ 1500m final, saying he was “beaten by bunnies”.
Sir John says Willis should have won the race, but underperformed on the day.
“He got beaten by bunnies, he should never have been,” he told 3 News. “Guys that are not even in his league – they’re not as good as him, not as fast as him. He should have been in the top three.”
Willis started strong but faded in the last few hundred metres, finishing in ninth place. First place today would have netted New Zealand its 100th ever Olympic medal, and Willis' first gold.
Watch the day's highlights and see what happened in Willis' race.
Speaking to media after the race, Willis’ disappointment was evident.
“Sorry for letting New Zealand down… I did my absolute best.”
Sir John says the race will likely stay with Willis for years to come.
“He’ll live with that for the rest of his life. That was his day, his promise, and he didn’t deliver.”
Willis won his heat and finished third in the 1500m semi-final to qualify for the final as a favourite, but Sir John says he just didn’t have the “gas”.
“Tactically he ran well, he was in the right position at the right time, he just didn’t have it on the day.”
Watch the full interview.
Sir John Walker's career highlights:
- First man to run the mile in under 3m50s
- Silver medallist in 1974 (1500m) and 1982 (1500m) Commonwealth Games and a bronze in 1974 (800m)
- Set the world record for the mile in a time of 3:49.4 in Sweden in 1975 for the 1500m
- Won the gold medal at the Olympics in 1976 (African nations boycotted)
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