TWO Wiltshire athletes are now within touching distance of earning a place in the Great Britain team for the 2020 European Youth Winter Olympics in Switzerland, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

The duo of Will Scammell and Charlotte Longden, who are both members of Team Bath AC, came through the latest Mono Bobsleigh selection test held at the University of Bath and will now head to Norway and Germany for further training and races.

Scammell, who is a pupil at St Augustine’s Catholic College in Trowbridge, revealed he had just scraped in after the selectors opted to bend their rules for the final cut-off.

“Originally, they were going to take two boys and two girls to the final selection but because the times were so close at the final training selection, they are now taking three of us, including my Team Bath team-mate Luka Williams,” said 16-year-old Scammell.

“That was good for me as I was actually the third fastest, so initially I wasn’t particularly confident that I would make the cut. Then a few days later, I got a call saying I had made it, which was great news.”

The GB squad will comprise three boys and three girls for the trips to Lillehammer, Norway, from October 17-28 and then Konigsee, Germany, between November 1-10.

Both training camps will incorporate intensive training sessions and culminate in four qualification races, after which just one boy and one girl will be selected to represent the country at the European Youth Olympics in St Moritz, Switzerland, in January.

Scammell, who lives in Devizes, is particularly relishing the chance to show what he can do on the ice.

“So far, it has all been about the push start, whereas driving is the main part of it and now we will see who can drive the best on the ice,” said Scammell.

“I have already competed in the Mono Bob on the ice in St Moritz, so hopefully that will give me an advantage because driving is the main part of it.

“This has been a two-year process but it now feels like only the start. It is all very exciting and if I can get picked it would be amazing.”

Longden is a boarding student at Marlborough College and, like Scammell and Williams, was also encouraged by their Team Bath AC coach Julie Alexander to try out for the bobsleigh team due to her sprinting power.

Alexander said: “It is all very exciting.

“It just shows what can happen if you have the ability to run fast. It opens opportunities that you may never have thought about before and I am delighted for the three athletes that they have earned themselves this fabulous chance.”