WILTSHIRE athletes Owen Merrett and Theo Spurrell have both been selected for their first England appearance, writes Kevin Fahey.

The county pair will compete at the England Athletics Throws Festival at Moulton College, near Northampton, across the first weekend in September with Merrett contesting the hammer and Spurrell going in the javelin.

Furthermore, 17-year-old Merrett has been given the extra honour of being named captain of the men’s team.

“Obviously, I had no clue I would be getting that and it has come as quite a surprise,” said Merrett, who lives in Chippenham and is a student at Sheldon School.

“Obviously, athletes will be able to talk to the coaches but I’m also there as another body for them to talk to about what they can expect competing at an international.”

Merrett’s England vest comes barely two weeks after he was awarded his first GB vest when competing for GB Under 20s at the Manchester International.

Merrett heads to Northants as the top thrower in the country at U18 level having thrown a PB of 73.00m at the Manchester International to go seventh in the World Rankings in that age group.

“We’ll see how things pan out and I’m looking forward to it,” added Merrett.

“It is a double whammy as I have gone from no international vests to two in barely two weeks and that’s amazing,” added Merrett.

For Corsham athlete Spurrell the call-up represents his first international call-up – but hopefully not his last either.

“It is very exciting to get my first vest,” said Spurrell, who is a student at Corsham School. “Since 2019 things have gone really well for me and this has been my best season yet.”

Indeed, Spurrell is the proud holder of both the English Schools’ inter boys’ and England Athletics U17s titles. And until recently – when rival Aryan Padaruth from Hillingdon leapt above him – Spurrell was top of the UK U17 rankings as well.

“I’ll be looking to take that No 1 spot back off Aryan!” added Spurrell. “That was a great throw but I have more to come and I will be looking for a PB this weekend. My training recently has been going really well and I feel I am still on the up and up.”