OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC ATHLETES OPEN NEW £3.15 MILLION NATIONAL CURLING ACADEMY
YEAR-ROUND ACCESS TO COMPETITION QUALITY ICE FOR PERFORMANCE ATHLETES AND COMMUNITY CLUBS
The world-class facility at Stirling Sports Village is Scotland’s first dedicated curling academy which ensures that from now on Team Scotland, Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes and community players have year-round access to high-quality ice to train on.
As well as helping the sport develop from a grassroots perspective, the National Curling Academy provides a year-long training environment where the continuous delivery of outstanding coaching and support programmes to our world-class athletes can take place.
Welcoming the new Academy, Minister for Public Health and Sport Aileen Campbell said:
“I’m delighted to have thrown the first official stone at the excellent National Curling Academy. This outstanding facility will really help the sport grow in Scotland as our world-class athletes and club members can now practice right throughout the year on the highest quality ice.”
Stirling Council Leader Scott Farmer said: "The opening of the National Curling Academy further cements Stirling's reputation as a hub of excellence for sport and physical activity. This year round, high quality training venue will make a significant difference to both our world-class athletes and local community clubs.
"With the world's oldest known curling stone residing in the Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Stirling really is the home of Curling. We are proud to have worked in partnership with sportscotland to deliver a state of the art facility which will support and inspire the next generations of curlers."
Performance Director at the sportscotland institute of sport, Mike Whittingham, said:
“We’re delighted that sportscotland and Stirling Council’s investment partnership has resulted in a world-class facility and home to curling in Scotland. The sport now has a terrific opportunity to attract new, grassroots curlers while, simultaneously, a dedicated hub for our performance athletes can help them continue to achieve excellent results on the world stage.
“The technology in the National Curling Academy is cutting-edge and a welcome addition to our Olympic and Paralympic training programmes.”
As well as exceptionally high-quality ice on four new sheets, from September, the Academy will have real time video capture and displays comprising multiple camera viewing angles allowing for video-based feed-back on individual sheets and across all four curling sheets.
The impact of sweeping with smartbroom technology continues to be monitored and it provides real time feedback rink side which includes measures such as forces applied to the broom, broom head amplitude, broom frequency and ice/stone impact.
All of this data will be collected into a database which can be securely accessed both on site and remotely via web based access once it is installed in early September.
Women’s 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Team GB skip and Olympic, World and European bronze medallist, Eve Muirhead, believes the new facility gives the British Curling programme a real edge over rival nations:
“I am really impressed with the new Academy and it has made our lives easier and I know it has made the coaches’ lives easier as well. Video will be available so that you can analyse your game right down to the tiniest margins – if anyone has a facility like that I don’t know what makes it better and I can’t see anyone beating this.
“It’s fantastic turning up to training knowing that you have this facility on your doorstep and it has made a big difference to us already and I know it will right up to the Olympics and for the future of curling.”
hub East Central Scotland managed the entire project from the early development and procurement stage, to commissioning the main contractor and project team and final hand over on completion.
Gary Bushnell, Chief Executive, hub East Central Scotland, said: “Our teams worked closely with sportscotland and Stirling Council to deliver a first class facility on time and budget that will ensure a bright future for Scottish Curling.”
David Cairns, managing director of main contractor Robertson Central East, said: “Stirling is Robertson Group’s headquarters so it was a particular pleasure to work on such a major project on our doorstep. The construction phase went smoothly and I’m sure that those who use the National Curling Academy will enjoy the high-quality facility for a long time to come.”
The National Curling Academy was awarded £1,425,000 from sportscotland and £1,726,566 from Stirling Council to make a total project cost of £3,151,566.
The ice at the National Curling Academy is being tested by the performance athletes and will be open to community clubs and the public from September 4th.
The women’s and men’s curling teams have been selected to compete for Team GB in PyeongChang. In an all-Scottish line-up, Team Muirhead comprises skip Eve Muirhead, third Anna Sloan, second Vicki Adams, lead Lauren Gray and alternate Kelly Schafer, while Team Smith comprises skip Kyle Smith, third Thomas Muirhead, second Kyle Waddell, lead Cammy Smith and alternate Glen Muirhead.
ParalympicsGB have qualified for Pyeongchang though Scotland’s results and team selection takes place in December.
As part of its long term commitment to the development of curling, Active Stirling, in partnership with the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, invest significantly in the grassroots of the sport. Active Stirling operate a number of RCCC programmes aimed at introducing more people to the game and developing those already in the sport for both juniors and adults. For more information click here
sportscotland invests £188k annually at Performance Foundations level into the High Performance Curling Programme, which is managed in-house through a collaborative partnership that enjoys excellent all year round support from the sportscotland Institute and its expert practitioners. Both the British and Scottish programme receives specialist services from the Institute to the value of £350k plus and up to £30k worth of sportscotland Athlete Personal Awards.
This is the only UK Sport funded British World-Class Programme in Scotland.
In this Pyeongchang cycle( 2014-2018), the original investment from UK Sport for curling was £6.75million combined for all four programmes, the women’s, men’s, wheelchair, and mixed doubles teams.
Pictured: Minister for Public Health and Sport Aileen Campbell officially opens the new National Curling Academy at The Peak, Stirling. Joined by Team GB curlers Team Muirhead and Team Smith and Paralympics Sochi bronze medallists Team Neilson and local community club curlers. Photos: Alan Peebles.