TEAM AITKEN ANDREWS RETURN TO MIXED DOUBLES ACTION AT OBERSTDORF
Gina Aitken and Sochi silver medallist Scott Andrews will get their first taste of competitive action this season at the Oberstdorf International Mixed Doubles in Germany, which gets underway this weekend (6-8 September).
Andrews is looking forward to returning to the event where he made his debut in the new Olympic discipline last year and with a year’s experience under his belt, is hopeful that he and partner Aitken can make a bigger impact on the international Mixed Doubles stage after their first season together was interrupted when he suffered a pectoral injury.
“It was a great tournament last year and this time they have again attracted another strong field. It is a great event to get things started and we reached the quarter final last time, so it would be good to get off to another good start,” he said.
“Our expectations are high, we have had a great pre-season together and we want to achieve much more after what was a bit of a roller coaster first year together.
We were making good progress until I got my injury and it was disappointing to have to sit out the Scottish Champs, but the silver lining was I was fit enough to compete at the Worlds.
“I feel much stronger as an athlete as a result and I am grateful to the brilliant support staff who have got me here in this shape and we are now raring to go and want to kick start this season with good results.”
Team Aitken/Andrews won their first Tour title together last year in Sochi, the same venue where Andrews claimed his Olympic silver medal in 2014 and that ambition to get back on the world and Olympic podium has not diminished after that challenging year. Targeting more results among high calibre fields is consequently very much part of their agenda in the coming months.
“The Mixed Doubles discipline is certainly having an impact on the sport, there are more and more top players entering these events and the strength of fields is definitely getting stronger,” said Andrews.
“We are specifically targeting quality events this year, where there is tough competition. If you want to be the best in the world you have to compete among the best players, however there is a saying among our programme athletes now which is, if you want to be the best in the world, you have to be the best in Scotland first.
“We will be competing alongside more programme athletes at the Scottish Mixed Doubles Championships this year, so it will be tough but we want to qualify for the worlds again.”
Andrews is also grateful that they will have fellow Olympic silver medallist Greg Drummond as their coach this year, after he was appointed full time to the programme coaching team this summer.
“It is great to have Greg in our corner, he is a huge asset to the programme and to ourselves, so we know we will benefit hugely from having him as our coach,” he said.
Aitken also welcomed the opportunity to work with Drummond as they seek to build on last year’s efforts.
“Greg departed competitive curling relatively recently and has lots of ideas and brings a fresh and insightful perspective as a coach, so we are really excited about taking all of that work into competition now and seeing how far it can take us this year,” she said.
“A lot happened last year because of Scott’s injury and it has made us really robust, so that whole experience has allowed us to take a lot of positives out of what was a negative at the time.”
Please click here for more information and results from the Oberstdorf International Mixed Doubles, which gets underway tomorrow:
Team Aitken /Andrews
Coach: Greg Drummond
Images: © Graeme Hart