22 Sep 2019

Nick Willis turns down last minute invite to World Champs

8:19 am on 22 September 2019

New Zealand middle distance runner Nick Willis has turned down an eleventh hour invite from the IAAF to compete at next week's World Championships in Doha.

Nick Willis competing at the 2017 world champs in London.

Nick Willis competing at the 2017 world champs in London. Photo: Photosport

The Olympic silver and bronze medalist was informed last week that he had missed out on qualifying for the event by just one spot.

But following a final review of entries, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has issued an additional 130 invitations to eligible athletes for further places to the IAAF World Championships.

Three New Zealand athletes have received invitations: Zoe Hobbs (200m), Camille Buscomb (5000m) and Nick Willis (1500m).

Hobbs and Buscomb are already in the New Zealand team preparing for the event, having qualified in the 100m and 10,000m respectively. They have both accepted their invitations.

Willis has chosen to not accept the invitation and Athletics New Zealand support his decision.

"The goal for 2019 was always to try to qualify for Doha with the aim of peaking in October for a good performance. After a week of waiting while my federation Athletics New Zealand advocated for me, the IAAF informed me of the final decision that I would not receive an invitation," said Willis.

"The initial disappointment quickly faded as my coaches and I realised that this may be a great blessing in disguise. With Tokyo only 10 months away, I can end my season on the high of winning the 5th Avenue mile and can afford to have a 2-3 week break before building up again for a great indoor and down under track season. Going to Doha would cut another month into this time frame and limit any recharge time.

"I'm now over a week into my break and just received an invite to Doha from the IAAF. After some serious consideration, we've decided it's now best to pass on Doha and stay the course that will give me the best shot at making and performing well at my 5th Olympic Games."

The 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships begin this Friday 27 September in Doha and run until October 6th.