BIG BRITISH CURLING CONTINGENT IN MIX IN DUMFRIES
British Curling Performance Coach Nancy Smith has commended organisers for hosting the International Mixed Doubles event in Dumfries this weekend, providing more opportunity for curlers to compete in the new Olympic discipline in an international competition, which gets underway tomorrow (22 – 24 March).
“It means they get greater exposure to the new Olympic discipline in a tournament environment and this event has attracted a good international field,” said Smith.
Eighteen teams will be taking part this weekend, including the three British Curling Mixed Doubles teams, Scottish champions Team Aitken/Andrews, English champions Team Fowler and former Scottish champions Team Kingan/Stirling.
Nancy Smith added: “A third of the field are national champions who will be competing at the World Mixed Doubles Championships in April, so this will certainly provide the perfect preparation for our teams going to Stavanger, as well as giving a greater number of our programme athletes a taste of the discipline at a very high level.”
Three more pairings include members of programme teams, Sochi Olympic bronze medallist Eve Muirhead teaming up with Team Paterson’s Duncan Menzies – who won this season’s Scottish Mixed Doubles title with Gina Aitken, after standing in for an injured Scott Andrews, while two of her regular team mates are also competing, Jennifer Dodds with Boost National Grand Slam Champion and Olympian Kyle Waddell and Vicky Wright with Waddell’s younger brother Craig.
“It’s going to be a little bit different this weekend. It’s a lot of shot making so I am really looking forward to it. I have always been a fan of Mixed Doubles and now it is an Olympic discipline I am keen to experience it more and this weekend is a perfect opportunity,” said Muirhead.
“Duncan is obviously a very experienced Mixed Doubles player and it will be good to play alongside him, having practised with him over the last few weeks. I think it is a pretty tough field with some strong European teams and also the British Curling teams, but it will be a good experience and hopefully a lot of fun,” she added.
Sochi Olympic silver medallist Greg Drummond, moved into a coaching role with the British Curling programme at the start of this season and like Smith is also working with the Mixed Doubles teams. He added: “As a former programme athlete and now a coach I know how much time we spend on the road travelling to get competitive experience at international level and it is great that we have attracted a high quality field to Scotland.
“There will be very challenging games to get out of the pools to be among the eight qualifiers and our teams have done a lot of preparation back at the National Curling Academy to prepare for this event, which will put them in good stead for the world championships. “However it will also be interesting to see how our programme team athletes adapt to the Mixed Doubles discipline this weekend and I hope we will see more events like this staged in Scotland,” he added.
Photos: Perthshire Picture Agency – Graeme Hart