NOT many 16-year-olds from Wiltshire get the chance to compete at an Olympic Games but that is the glittering prize awaiting Charlotte Longden this weekend, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

The Marlborough College boarding student will be at Bath University to take part in the Mono Bobsleigh trials to see if she can win a place in the Great Britain team for the European Youth Winter Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland, next year.

“This weekend it is the trials to make the final cut from which two boys and two girls will be selected to go away to Germany for a training camp,” said Longden.

“After that training camp the decision is then taken on the one boy and one girl who will represent the country at the Winter Youth Olympics in January.

“At the moment I am feeling quite confident but anything can happen so I am not sure about my prospects.

“But I have trained really hard and it would be so amazing to be picked to go to Germany.”

Longden’s path to the new sport of Mono Bobsleigh has come via athletics and her membership of Team Bath Athletics Club and an unexpected challenge from her coach Julie Alexander.

“I had a message from Julie asking me if I wanted to go for a trial for the Winter Youth Olympics and, to be honest, I thought she was joking,” added Longden.

“But that was then followed by a long email from the team officials about what they were looking for and then I knew it was serious.

“I went to the trials at Bath University and it has gone from there.”

Longden’s ability as a sprinter has proved decisive in her ability to adapt quickly to the new sport as her power in getting the Monobob moving from a standing start to hurtling down the track at breath-taking speed has been impressive.

“I spent a week on ice in Austria last February learning how to drive the Monobob and that was followed by a week on the famous San Moritz track in Switzerland,” explained Longden.

“The Monobob, which is a new sport, is all about the start because if you mess up that you have no chance. Then it is all about driving down a 1,800m long track and reaching speeds of 120k as you get to the bottom in just over a minute.

“The first time I did it I freaked out and was screaming the whole way down the track and had my eyes closed for most of the way!

“But it was so much fun and when I finished I wanted to do it straightaway again. You get a massive adrenaline rush.”

Also joining Longden at the trials will be St Augustine's Catholic College student Will Scammell and fellow sprinter Luka Williams, who are also both members of Team Bath AC.