The world 1500m finalist returned from a training camp in Ethiopia to take the British indoor title and has set his sights on a medal at the World Indoor Championships
With his spot on the Great Britain team for this month’s IAAF World Indoor Championships now confirmed, Charlie Grice heads to Portland targeting a 1500m podium place.
The 22-year-old returned to track action last weekend after a period of training in Ethiopia with Mo Farah and after his Indoor British Championships win in Sheffield Grice said he is looking forward to the global event in Oregon where he hopes to “mix it with the world’s best”.
“It’s great to have retained my title,” he said. “It’s always a bit unknown going into the first race and it being a national championships, but just really glad to have come out on top.”
Having already clocked the qualifying time for Portland, his win in Sheffield secured his World Indoors spot. Asked about his aims for the event, he said: “Definitely a medal. I think with all the crap that has been going on in the sport at the moment I’d like to think that they are catching people out and I know that I’ll be coming into Portland in the right shape. I know I’m good in those tactical races.”
Forced to miss the Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix the weekend before because of food poisoning, the Indoor British Championships was Grice’s first race since since returning from Ethiopia and he was pleased with his performance.
On the experience of training abroad with double Olympic, world and European champion Farah, Grice added: “It was amazing. He works incredibly hard and I was trying to keep up with him! It was a good experience.”
However, since his return Ethiopia has been the latest country to have hit the headlines over its anti-doping efforts, with nine Ethiopian runners, five of them said to be “top athletes”, reportedly under investigation for doping.
News from The Associated Press of those investigations came on the same day that the IAAF confirmed that 2013 world 1500m champion Abeba Aregawi, who was born in Ethiopia but represents Sweden, had tested positive for a banned substance.
On Wednesday, insidethegames.biz wrote that 2015 Tokyo Marathon winner Endeshaw Negesse had also reportedly failed a doping test for Meldonium, a substance which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list from January 1 of this year.
Having spoken with media after the announcement of the GB team for the World Indoor Championships, British Athletics performance director Neil Black was quoted by the Guardian as having said that the national governing body is “really comfortable” with British athletes training in Ethiopia.
“The camps and the time we spent out in Ethiopia are fully supervised, we always have our staff there, so we’re really comfortable with what we do,” Black said. “We’re not foolish that we’ll just sit back and think that because we’ve done it before that’s what we’ll always do. We’ll pay attention to all the information and we’ll make good decisions.”
On whether he had seen any wrongdoing during his time in Ethiopia, Grice said: “I didn’t see anything. I just hope that they clean up the sport. All I saw out there was people working incredibly hard and I was too.”
While Grice is targeting a medal at the World Indoor Championships, which take place from March 17-20, the Rio Olympics remains his main aim.
“Things are going in the right direction at the moment,” said the Brighton Phoenix runner, who finished ninth in the world 1500m final in Beijing last summer.
“As long as I stay injury free then I hope I can cause some upsets in Rio and get to the final.
“I want to be fresher in that final this year. Last year I did really well to get to the final but I was a bit heavy-legged and tired. I hope all the training I am doing will get me into the final fresher and ready to mix it up.”