Curling: Fleming and Smith chase more medals

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THIS year’s World Junior Curling Championships get under way today in Sochi, Russia, with defending world junior champion Hannah Fleming from Lockerbie leading the Scottish women, and Perth’s Kyle Smith, who took bronze in this event last year, skipping the men.

Both successfully retained their national titles in Aberdeen earlier this season, to earn the right to wear the blue of Scotland again.

Ten women’s and ten men’s teams will compete at Sochi’s Ice Cube Curling Center, which will be the curling and wheelchair curling venue for the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. This is the first time that Russia has hosted the World Junior Championships.

Three members of Fleming’s world champion team are returning – Fleming, third Lauren Grey and lead Abi Brown – with second player Jennifer Dodds replacing over-aged Alice Spence. Vicky Wright will act as alternate for this event.

In the men’s event, Scotland beat Norway for bronze in Ostersund last year, and four members of Kyle Smith’s squad, including skip Smith, return this season, with Kyle’s younger brother Cameron coming in at lead to join Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell and alternate Hammy McMillan.

The Scottish women will be in action this afternoon as they face USA. After that, the Scottish men take on China this evening.