TALENTED teenager Ryan Smith came so close to being the National Tetrathlon Champion - but was still celebrating third spot.
The 15-year-old Rhyddings High School pupil was representing Holcombe Hunt Pony Club at the 2008 National Tetrathlon Championship at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire.
At the Intermediate level, 58 boys, with ages ranging from 14 to 17 from all corners of the United Kingdom, competed against each other in four disciplines - swimming, shooting, running and cross country horse riding.
Competitor’s performances in each discipline are converted into points to determine the final placings.
Ryan, a strong all-rounder with dreams of competing in the 2012 London Olympics, scored an amazing total of 4378 points, which was just 20 points off becoming the 2008 National Champion.
Instead, he ended in third place - but could still boast the best running time and the highest placed North of England competitor.
Ryan said: "I am really pleased with my own performances in the running and swimming phases.
"I got a personal best in both my swim and run and I won the running phase comfortably.
"I was, however, disappointed with my shoot score of 860 out of a possible 1000 - I know I could have done a lot better.
"My horse Joe was an absolute star during the final phase, which was over the tough, challenging Hartpury College cross country course and we had to ride in the pouring rain.
"I have trained hard all year for these championships and would like to thank Hyndburn Harriers, Pioneer Swimming Club, Holcombe Pony Club and my family for all the support with my training, which helped me secure my top three place."
Ryan and his younger brother Kyle, who is 10 and is a pupil of Hipping Methodist School, are now preparing for the National Modern Pentathlon Championships.
These championships will be held at the end of August in Solihull.
Modern Pentathlon is an Olympic sport which involves running, swimming, shooting, fencing and show jumping.
Ryan’s ultimate goal is to compete at the 2012 Olympics in Modern Pentathlon.