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Page last updated at 09:56 GMT, Monday, 23 August 2010 10:56 UK

Charlie Grice describes Youth Olympic experience

2010 Youth Olympic Games, Singapore
Dates: 12-26 August
Coverage: Highlights on the BBC Red Button, iPlayer and the BBC Sport website; Watch a round-up of the action on BBC 1 on Sun 29 Aug at 1130

(l-r) Hicham El Guerrouj, Charlie Grice and Wilson Kipketer
Grice received his bronze medal from middle distance running legends Hicham El Guerrouj and Wilson Kipketer

By Charlie Grice
Brighton 16-year-old who won Youth Olympic 1000m bronze on Sunday

My first Olympic experience has been amazing and I will never forget it. I was really excited to be part of the first Youth Olympic Games and to travel to a place like Singapore was a great opportunity.

I was really up for it and I love racing for my country; it makes me really proud and I wanted to do the best I could.

The opening ceremony was amazing, it was the best thing I have ever seen and lots of people were saying that it was the best ceremony apart from the Sydney Olympics.

It felt great to get my medal from two of the fastest men in the world at my events

It really inspired me to do well in the competition and it was good to see how much it meant to Singapore as so much time and effort had gone into the event.

The main focus for me this year was to gain international experience and when I missed out on getting an England vest for the Schools International at the English Schools Cross Country Championships, I was really gutted.

Looking back, I'm pleased that happened as it made me work a bit harder in training.

I got my first international vest at the European Youth Olympic trials in Moscow in May. I had to run 3.53.30 over 1500m to get there, which meant knocking five seconds of my personal best. I was really pleased when I did this in April.

Quite a few people doubted my ability to gain the qualification time, but it felt great to prove them wrong.

Out in Moscow I needed to finish in the top three in a 1000m race to qualify for Singapore and I came second. After the race I was gutted because I knew I had a great chance to win but this kept me focused and determined not to make the same mistakes again.

Coming into the competition here in Singapore I was ranked eighth but I knew I could run a lot faster. I won my heat on Wednesday to qualify for the final as fourth fastest and felt great afterwards.

The two weeks training out here before the competition really helped me and I acclimatised well.

My final was on Sunday. It was the day I'd been working towards since qualifying in May. I'd spoken to my coach Jon Biggs and his advice was to leave everything on the track!

We discussed tactics - how my heat had gone, what I could improve and how we felt others would run the race. We decided that I would sit in behind the leaders and get into a good position, but use as little energy as possible.

It wasn't too hot when I was getting ready. I arrived at the warm-up track early so I had some time to relax. I completed my strides, got a towel full of ice to keep me cool as I got on the bus to the competition stadium and to take out into the arena.

The stadium had a lot more people in it than on Wednesday and I couldn't wait to get started. We were all taken out on to the track and we did a couple of final strides before we were lined up and introduced to the crowd. We were ready to go!

The gun went and the pace was fast, I knew that most of the field would fade away as a result of running too hard at the beginning. I settled in and then moved up the field as the race progressed.

Charlie Grice and Sebastian Coe
Grice gets some tips from double Olympic 1500m champion Lord Coe

With 150m to go, as planned, I moved through and then kicked with 100m to go, moving into fifth position.

At this stage I knew that the Moroccan in third place should be disqualified as he had run off the track about three times round the last bend. As a result I concentrated on beating the guy in front of me.

I waited and waited until he began to fade. I could feel my legs buckling underneath me but I pushed hard to line, the distance between us seemed to be staying the same but he tied up slightly, I kept my form as best I could and I moved past him to finish in a new personal best of 2:21.85.

I had crossed the line in fourth place but I was convinced I should be promoted to third. The results came up on the main board in the stadium. I was still fourth.

I went through to the mixed zone and told the media guys that he'd stepped off the track. I was really tired and I just sat on the ground, waiting and waiting.

Eventually the official result came through. The Moroccan had been disqualified for cutting the corner and I had a bronze medal at the Youth Olympic Games! It was a fantastic feeling.

BBC Newsround presenter Ore Oduba was there and he interviewed me. It was nice to have a familiar face to speak to and to be interviewed knowing I had won a medal felt great.

Everything we'd been working so hard for was worth it now.

Next up was the medal ceremony. Ethiopian winner Mohammed Geleto and Hamza Driouch of Qatar who finished second were alongside me as we walked out.

Also with us, to do the presentations, were the current 1500m world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj and former 800m world record holder Wilson Kipketer.

It felt great to get my medal from two of the fastest men in the world at my events and to have the medal hanging round my neck was another great feeling.

More press interviews followed and then it was into drug testing. Eventually, five hours after the race had finished, I was free to leave the stadium, go and get something to eat, hop on the bus back to the village and catch up with the rest of Team GB.

It's been an amazing experience. As well as my medal, I also got the chance to meet and interview Seb Coe. He is a real professional at everything he does and he is one of my heroes, along with Steve Ovett, as I love the way they raced and dominated middle distance at the time.

Over the last few weeks I have made new friends from other countries and met some great people from the other sports in Team GB. I've learnt a lot from the experience and it has ended what has been a fantastic season.

I have exceeded all expectations, even my own, which are very high! Now I'm having a few weeks off!



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