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On returning to the scene of his greatest sporting success four years ago, Olympic silver medallist Scott Andrews has claimed the International Mixed Doubles title in Sochi with his new playing partner Gina Aitken.

Andrews, who switched to the new Olympic discipline at the start of this season found the winning formula with Aitken in only their third competitive outing together since joining forces in August. The pair suffered only one narrow defeat on their way to the knockout stages where they met another of British Curling’s teams, English champions Anna and Ben Fowler in the semi-finals, beating them 11-4 before seeing off Russian duo Maria Komarova and Daniil Goryachev 7-6 in the final.

For Andrews, contesting another final at the scene of the greatest moment of his career was highly evocative and he was thrilled to take gold this time around.

“I was determined not to get another silver and it was brilliant,” he said.

“To be back in Sochi to revisit the athletes’ village, to see Team GB House and be back in the Ice Cube again brought back so many memories. It felt a little bit like unfinished business and I wanted to perform better in the final. It was great to be back on the podium and on top of it this time in Sochi. I think it’s shown what both myself and Gina can achieve.

“We came here in a really good place, have been working well as a team and that showed in Kitzbuehel (where they reached the final). I think the combination of Gina’s experience in mixed doubles and mine in men’s curling has seen us gel together nicely.”

He and Aitken were joined in the experience by his Olympic team-mate and now coach Greg Drummond, making their win all the more special as they overcame a strong field.

“Greg has been working with us and it’s been great to be able to have him on the team and share this victory with him,” said Andrews.

“It’s been a really strong field out here, good quality games, with some strong Russian teams. In our semi-final against Anna and Ben, myself and Gina got on top early doors. To be honest it was one of our best games all week. It was just unfortunate that it was against another British Curling team, however it was great to see Anna and Ben on the podium as well.”

For the Fowlers an excellent week’s work was completed by victory over Anastasia Moskaleva and Alexander Eremin in a hard fought third place play-off and reinforced their confidence in the work they have been doing since becoming the first English players to join the British Curling programme.

“We’re extremely pleased with our result at only our second event this season. It’s been a really good week and we were able to put into practise a lot of what we’ve been working on,” said Anna, after she held her nerve to draw to the button and claim the shot which secured a 6-5 win.

“This was a tough three game day. Gina and Scott played amazingly, but we bounced back from that defeat and came out strong, got used to the ice conditions quickly and managed to grind out the win.

“It’s all new to us, but the whole set-up of the programme is focused on performance and designed to help us improve and we really are making the most of everything which is showing in our results and tells us there is a lot more to come.”

Team Fowler, Team Aitken/Andrews and Scottish Champions Team Kingan/Stirling - who just missed out on progressing to the knock-out stages - head to their next event, the Mixed Doubles in Bern, which gets underway on Friday (16-18 November).

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Photos: Scott Andrews portrait - Perthshire Picture Agency – Graeme Hart 

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