TWO friends from Fleet will represent Great Britain in the 2002 World Biathle Championship in Sardinia.

Sarah Burgin and Kerry De Lacey qualified after impressive showings at the continuous run-swim-run British Biathle Championship in Weymouth.

The top six British finishers in the international competition qualified for the Great Britain team, who will compete in Sardinia on September 8.

Sarah, ten, of Wellington Avenue, qualified despite being up against older girls in the 11-12 age group.

"I can't tell you how pleased I was to come fifth against all the older girls," she said.

"While in the home run I could hear the girl in sixth place getting closer and closer and I thought to myself ‘no way are you getting past me'. I found a little bit more speed and beat her to the line. That was a cool feeling.

"The sea was so cold. It was very difficult running back to the beach, and putting my shoes back on and then starting running again was almost impossible. My legs felt really heavy but when I got into my rhythm I just did it.

"I can't wait to go to Sardinia with Kerry and Calina and Kiri Novak (two friends from Camberley) who also made the team.

"We are going to have such a good time and we are all really excited about it."

Sarah's potential was first spotted when her family lived in Russia for three years.

Her PE teacher there organised an Iron Man competition which saw girls and boys aged 7-11 competing against each other.

Despite being only seven, Sarah came fifth from a field of 120.

She does not belong to a swimming club but trains herself twice a week and has learnt many of her techniques from Julie Robinson of the Farnborough Fins Swimming School.

Kerry, 14, of Brinksway, became interested in swimming when she was a toddler and has been running competitively since 1995.

She joined Hart Swimming Club after being noticed by a coach, and was invited to join despite being too young. She has been attending training sessions four times a week ever since.

In 1998 and 1999, as a pupil of The Grey House School in Hartley Wintney, Kerry competed in the National Swimming Championship, where the school reached the finals.

She is currently club champion in under-15 girls freestyle, breaststroke and the individual medley. She is also second in backstroke and butterfly.

Kerry has been running for Aldershot, Farnham and District Athletics Club for the last five years and has represented AFD and Hampshire nationally in cross-country running.

She gained a team first in the National Biathlon relay in 2000, an individual fifth place in the Southern Schools Championship and a team first and individual sixth place in the National Biathlon finals in Sheffield.

Last year Kerry came fourth in the Southern Schools and British Schools championships and this year she came 13th in the nationals.

She also came seventh in the county for high jump earlier this year.

While not competing Kerry enjoys relaxing with a pizza while watching The Simpsons, shopping for clothes, playing with the family pet — a whippet called Hal — and looking after her hamster Snowy.

Sarah (left) and Kerry are pictured in their team tracksuits.