World curling events to sweep into Scotland

Scotland's Olympic curling heroes (L/R) Eve Muirhead, Aileen Neilson and David Murdoch. Picture: SNS

Scotland's Olympic curling heroes (L/R) Eve Muirhead, Aileen Neilson and David Murdoch. Picture: SNS

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Sochi heores David Murdoch, Eve Muirhead and Aileen Neilson were in Glasgow yesterday to celebrate the news Scotland will host four major international curling championships between 2016 and 2020.

The World Curling Federation (WCF) announced a multi-hosting agreement that starts with the European Championships in 2016, which will take place at the Braehead Arena in Renfrewshire, and concludes with one of the WCF’s flagship events, the men’s World Championship in 2020 at the newly built SSE Hydro in Glasgow.

Scotland will also host the World Junior Curling Championships 2018 in Aberdeen and the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2019 in Stirling.

WCF president Kate Caithness said: “Securing all four locations is a massive boost to the sport, not only internationally but particularly within Scotland as they look to build on interest in curling generated around the time of the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Following on from the double host awards to Esbjerg in Denmark and Lohja, Finland, this form of multiple event bidding is becoming increasingly popular amongst our Member Associations and is proving to be an attractive proposition for the World Curling Federation.”

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Bruce Crawford, chief executive of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club added: “We are delighted that Scotland has been awarded these four international curling championships by the World Curling Federation. The bid process has been a collaboration with our partners and the real work begins now as we start turning these ambitious plans into exciting events. From today we will start working with new partners, sponsors and volunteers to deliver four successful events across Scotland over the next six years.”

Scotland has hosted several international curling championships in the past, most recently the World Mixed Doubles and World Senior Curling Championships 2014 in Dumfries. Perth played host to the World Junior Curling Championships in 2011 while Aberdeen held the Le Gruyere European Curling Championships in 2009.

Scotland has not hosted a men’s World Championship since 2000 when Canada’s Greg McAulay won the world title in Braehead. That same location held the World Wheelchair Curling Championship the last time it was in Scotland, in 2005. Olympic bronze medal-winning skip Muirhead, who has just returned home after winning the first-ever Canadian Women’s Open said: “The appetite for curling in Scotland is at its highest for years, following the 2014 Winter Olympics. Bringing international events to Scotland will showcase the sport and inspire future generations”.

Sochi silver medallist Murdoch, twice a world champion and three times a European champion, said: “What better place to have a world championships than in curling’s home?”

Paralympic bronze medallist Neilson added: “Having a championship on home ice will be a great opportunity to inspire others into curling.”

Partners in the successful bid included the Scottish Government and VisitScotland.

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