PARALYMPICSGB WHEELCHAIR CURLERS GET FIRST EVENT OF YEAR UNDERWAY
ParalympicsGB wheelchair curlers are taking part in their first competition of the year at the Kisakallio Cup in Loja, Finland (15-18 January) which is also their first competitive outing since the team was announced as Britain’s Paralympic wheelchair curling representatives for PyeongChang in March 2018.
The five strong team comprising Skip Aileen Neilson and fellow Sochi Paralympic bronze medallists, Angie Malone MBE, Gregor Ewan, Robert McPherson and Games debutant Hugh Nibloe have made a steady start to the tournament with two wins and two losses so far. For Neilson, returning to the place of redemption, where they had been relegated from the world championships, but subsequently returned to battle back and re-qualify for the top tier, allowing them to go to PyeongChang where they claimed a world bronze medal and also qualified for the Paralympics, is both poignant and important.
“For a while it was my least favourite place to compete and that has changed now so it is good to head back here to compete again,” said Neilson.
“We have been a small squad but now knowing who is going to PyeongChang gives us stability and certainty so we can build on solid foundations before we head out to South Korea.
“We had a good end to last year in the US and Canada and this event gives us the opportunity to build on that and there are a number of Paralympic rivals here but the other teams are also of a high standard, so this is a chance for good game practice.
“The facility and our base is all in one complex so it is an excellent place to compete and the ties are similar to the Paralympics so it is all good preparation for gauging our form and making sure we peak at the right time.”
Despite having been selected for two Games prior to PyeongChang, Neilson was not taking her position in the team for granted until the announcement.
Gregor Ewan, 46, Elgin
Angie Malone MBE, 52, Glasgow
Robert McPherson, 49, Bellshill
Aileen Neilson MBE, 45, Strathaven
Hugh Nibloe, 35, Stranraer
Scotland v Latvia 5-7
Scotland v Czech Republic 9-2
Scotland v Korea 4-5
Scotland v Norway 9-6
British Curling Photos: Perthshire Picture Agency - Graeme Hart.