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YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMESREPORTINGBACKALAN HARRISRECALLS HIS EXPERIENCES AS PART OF THE INAUGURAL IOC YOUNG REPORTERS PROGRAMME AT THE YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMESIN SINGAPORE34OLYMPIC REVIEW

YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMESWhen I left Barbados on the afternoon of August 9, bound for Singapore, Ireally had no idea what I was in for. Theonly element of this process - and probably the mostimportant - was that I knew I was going to be part ofsomething special. Something historic. And, as it turnedout, I was. When, after 30 hours of travel, I finallylanded at Changi International Airport, I immediatelybecame an International Olympic Committee-sponsored'Young Reporter.' Historical feat number one for this23-year-old island boy.I was in this welcoming Asian city-state for the first Youth Olympic Games - historical referencenumber two. In all, there were 29 of us YRs, as wesoon learned we would be called. I would be the only one from the Caribbean.Here in Singapore, we were grouped together withfive experienced news professionals: broadcastersTracey Holmes and Richard Palfreyman; photo guruPeter Charles; newswoman Lucia Montanarella; andsportswriter Alan Abrahamson. Three days of intense classwork ensued. Then theon-the-job experience began. The 29 of us were splitinto five groups. I was put into Group C, along withDeffnie from Vanuatu; Kimiya from Canada; Marwanfrom Egypt; and Golf from Thailand. Natthavuj is howGolf spells his real first name. That's why he asked us to call him Golf.The things I learned over the next 10 days came at moments that were sometimes obvious. Other times- at moments I could never have expected. One day,for example, Group C went to weightlifting. The eventwe saw was won by an Iranian. An Algerian wassecond and an Egyptian third - Marwan was happy.After receiving their medals, the Iranian andEgyptian embraced each other, adding a kiss on eachcheek. It was the sort of kiss shared between peoplewith ultimate respect for one another. I was humbledand pleased to bear witness to a moment that couldonly have happened at an Olympic event.We worked with Peter, the photographer, for twodays. On day one, he looked me square in the eye andplaced an expensive professional camera in myignorant hands. He told me to head out into the villageand photograph the 'faces' of the Youth OlympicGames. My results were simply terrible. He pulled measide and, patiently, told me my skills would improve.The second batch of images I delivered were, in hiswords, "Keepers, mate!" This group of shots includedpictures of people's faces - some happy, someintrospective, some candid. The subjects were of allages, races and nationalities. How did I even knowwhat to look for when I was looking through the lens?Because Peter had opened my eyes.One final example: As the Games neared an end,Lucia gave us an open-ended assignment. Go out intothe village, she said, and "surprise me."I chose to write about the janitor who cleaned ourYoung Reporters workroom. His name was ChengChuan. He was 48 years old, lived in Malaysia and tooktwo buses to work every morning. He had to get upevery day at 2:30 in the morning to get to the village by seven. He could not have been more proud of hisrole in the first Youth Olympic Games. Me neither. ?LeftAlan puts his new found skills into practiceBelowThe 29 IOC Young Reporters picturedtogether in SingaporeOLYMPIC REVIEW35