Curling Dynasties Head For Euro Champs In Denmark
Three curling dynasties are combining to represent Scotland as Team Muirhead and Team Smith contest the European Championships which get underway in Denmark today.
Eve Muirhead, whose father Gordon is a former world champion, leads the women’s team while her brothers Thomas and Glenn are both in the men’s team. It is skipped by Kyle Smith, whose father David skipped Scotland to a world championship win in 1991 and he is also accompanied by younger brother Cameron, while the other member of their team is Kyle Waddell whose grandfather Jimmy is a former European champion.
Team Muirhead, which also includes Anna Sloan, Victoria Adams, Sarah Reid and alternate Rachel Hannen, is looking to improve on last year’s bronze medal in this event, but for Team Smith this is the first time they have represented Scotland at a senior championship and they are excited by the prospect.
“We had three goals we wanted to achieve early on in our season, to get a good result at a tier two Slam event in Canada, win the Euro Play-downs and get to the European Championships. We have managed to complete the hat-trick and the Europeans will be a new experience for us and we will need to stick to our processes and take each game as it comes,” said the 23-year-old skip.
“We have done a lot of hard work with our coach Viktor (Kjall), including some strategy work and he has achieved a lot in this game so we want to be able to go out and achieve like he has and our goal now is to do as well as we can.”
The Smith brothers also work together off the ice on the family farm in Perthshire and dad David is keeping it a truly family affair in Esbjerg as he will be commentating on the curling for Euro Sport.
“It is not easy stepping away from the farm as it is more than just a job, however mum will be looking after things whilst we are away,” said Smith.
“No doubt we will get lots of calls during the championship from mum as well as dad, as he will want to ask us how things are going and what the conditions and the ice are like.”
The European Championships (November 20-28) double as a qualifying competition for this season’s World Championships where, in turn, the Scottish representatives will be seeking to accrue qualifying points to ensure that Team GB is participating in curling at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The ten A-Division men's teams competing are: Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The ten A-Division women's teams are: hosts Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, and current world champions Switzerland.
Of these only eight European teams from both the men’s and women’s events will qualify for the world championships. The Ford World Women’s Curling Championship takes place in Swift Canada from 19-27 March and hosts Canada, USA, Japan and Korea have already qualified. The World Men’s Curling Championship will be hosted from 2-10 April in Basel, with Switzerland, Canada, USA, Korea and Japan already having secured their places at that event.
Team Muirhead: Eve Muirhead (Skip), Anna Sloan, Victoria Adams, Sarah Reid. Alternate - Rachel Hannen.