Three ski cross hopefuls from Dalkeith are going all out to reach the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Alannah Lawrie and sisters Zoe and Claire Winthrop are gearing up for a winter of intense competition having been called up to the inaugural GB Europa Cup squad.
Ski cross involves a high-speed race down a circuit that requires the rider to navigate their way over a series of jumps and cambered turns.
The international series will see the trio compete from November until April in countries including Switzerland, France, Germany and Czech Republic. The youngsters will spend five months on the continent travelling and living in a camper van.
However, as the eldest of the trio Claire, 21, explains, this could be the first stepping stone to Beijing. Zoe, who recently finished fifth in the individual World Junior Championships, and Alannah are both 18.
“We had an inclination that something might be in the pipeline given how well things went in Pyeongchang earlier this year, but it was great when it came through that there was going to be a GB Europa Cup squad for the first time,” said Claire, who trains with the Midlothian Ski Race Club at Hillend.
“There’s only six of us on the team, so for three of us to all be from the same area is a bit surreal.
“We’ve got eight races this year all over Europe and we start at the end of November, so it’s not too far away. We’re already in the gym preparing for it as much as we can. We’ll be away for quite a few months and will travel from competition to competition in a camper van.
“I’m the one that does the driving, which can take its toll. Last year we did racked up 13,000 miles, but this time we’ll be with GB. Like a lot of the other disciplines there’s no funding so it can be a problem. We all have sponsors that help us out, but it can be difficult.”
Although qualification for the Games in China don’t start until 2020, Claire believes it is important they get off on a sound footing with the national team.
“We’d like to break into the top ten this year and I think that’s a realistic goal,” she said. “We’d all love to make the Olympics and I think it’s achievable as there isn’t a massive amount competing in ski cross at the moment.”