A PROMISING young duo have been given the chance to aim for the very top of their sport after securing places on an elite UK athletics programme.

Rosie Woodhams and Steph Driscoll, who both attend Dallam School in Milnthorpe, have been selected for the Athletics Academy in Sporting Excellence, which has a glittering reputation for producing the sport's champions of the future.

"It is an honour for any school to have a student invited to attend this prestigious academy, let alone to have two students attend at the same time," said Dallam School head of PE Sarah Greenwood.

And with previous academy products including World Championship medallist Matthew Hudson-Smith and Olympic medallists Desiree Henry and Daryll Neita, there looks to be no limit to what the girls have the potential to achieve.

"This is a great chance as this is part of a performance pathway leading to potential international senior athletics which could take us to higher levels with lots of hard work," said Steph.

And Rosie said winning a place on the course had increased her self belief that she can build a successful career in athletics.

"I was really excited hearing I had been selected," she said. "I had wanted to try to pursue a career on the track - now I have boosted confidence in knowing I can."

Rosie, who is 16 and lives at Hincaster, and 17-year-old Steph, who is from Kendal, are both in Year 12 at Dallam.

Rosie, who has attended the school since Year 7 and is currently studying for her A levels, began her athletics career in fell running in her early teens, practicing on Farleton Knott near her home.

She enjoyed a run of success in the sport, regularly winning national events and going on to represent Great Britain at under 17 level in 3K mountain races in Macedonia and Andorra, and she is now focussing on 3K and mountain running as her specialist events.

Steph meanwhile previously attended Queen Katherine School in Kendal before joining Dallam Sixth Form to study the International Baccalaureate Diploma.

She specialises in the 400 metres and also the gruelling heptathlon, a punishing seven discipline event where competitors take part in events ranging from the 100 metres hurdles to the javelin.

Both girls have trained hard for several years and have now been repaid for their commitment by winning those coveted places at the Athletics Academy in Sporting Excellence for the 2018-2020 period.

The programme is a key part of the British Athletics Performance Pathway for young athletes aged between 16 and 18, and gives them the opportunity to learn and develop the necessary knowledge and skills to progress on to becoming a senior international athlete whilst gaining further qualifications.

The girls attended a full day induction at Loughborough College, and in the coming months will attend three national camps and five regional day camps as well as a series of intensive one-to-one training sessions with programme specialists as they aim to secure a Diploma in Sporting Excellence.

But as the programme is designed to support and compliment club training, they will continue their regular training at home with Steph also travelling to Liverpool three times a week for further training sessions.

Both the school and the girls' trainers paid tribute to their respective families for their encouragement and support, which in tandem with the girls' own dedication and talent, promises a bright sporting future for both.

"Future Olympians? Watch this space, we all will be at Dallam School," said Ms Greenwood.