Curling: Muirhead ‘gutted’ at world title call

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EVE Muirhead yesterday hit out at the decision by the Royal Caledonian Curling Club which will prevent her rink defending their world title next year.

Muirhead, along with Vicki Adams, Lauren Gray, Claire Hamilton and Anna Sloan, beat Sweden 6-5 in Riga earlier this year to claim the world title but they will be unable to compete in next year’s event due to a policy decision that they prioritise the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi – which they are certain to be picked for.

The team which wins the Scottish Championships goes on to represent Scotland at the World Curling Championship, but next year’s Scottish finals will overlap with the Winter Olympics.

Muirhead told BBC Scotland: “We’re gutted we won’t get to defend our Scottish and world titles. We’re the best rink in the country and it’ll be hard to watch someone else take our title and then get the chance to go to the World Championship which we worked so hard to win last year.”

There are no plans to move the Scottish Championships to accommodate Muirhead’s rink – a situation former president of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, Robbie Scott, has described as “shocking and embarrassing” for Scottish curling. He added that preventing Muirhead from defending her Scottish and world titles is “like telling Andy Murray he can’t defend his Wimbledon title next year”.

The ruling was originally made in 2011 and further ratified by a Royal Caledonian Curling Club review this year, which states: “The coaching team strongly recommend that the athletes who are selected for the 2014 Olympic Games do not compete in the 2014 World Championships.”