SCOTLAND WHEELCHAIR CURLERS HEAD FOR WETZIKON
Scotland’s wheelchair curlers are heading to Switzerland this weekend, aiming to generate momentum ahead of their return to the scene of this year’s greatest success, when they claimed world championship silver medals on home ice in Stirling.
Hugh Nibloe, who was part of that world championship team, had his first experience of skipping in Stavanger last month and is now looking to build on that as he leads fellow world silver medallist David Melrose, along with Gary Smith and Charlotte McKenna as they compete in a 20 team field at the 12th Wheelchair Curling Tournament in Wetzikon (11 – 13 October). On their return, they are straight back into action among eight teams contesting the Stirling Wheelchair Curling International Invitational (SWCII ) (15-18 October) hosted at The Peak.
“It is a totally different dynamic and experience for me skipping a team and I am finding the challenge really exciting,” said Hugh Nibloe, who recently relocated from his hometown Stranraer to live in Stirling, whilst undertaking an undergraduate course at the local university.
“Living here is making life more straightforward for training at the National Curling Academy, just next door to the rink at The Peak, where we enjoyed success. It was such a momentous occasion getting to the world final there. We have so many good memories competing on that rink and the Stirling event next week is one of the best tournaments on the circuit, so it will be great to be there again.
“Competing at Wetzikon this weekend is going to be another great competitive opportunity, I feel I am really settling into my new role and just need to make decisions quicker and call a good game, as we will be playing some of the top teams in the world,” he said.
Head Coach Sheila Swan believes the busy tournament schedule in the coming days will provide the team with ideal preparation for the year ahead.
“Having Wetzikon and SWCII back to back almost replicates the length and number of games that we will face at a World Championships or Paralympic Games, obviously with some travel and change of accommodation in between. But it will test the levels of fitness of the athletes, in terms of time on the field of play and will help the process of preparing for big tournaments, which is often difficult to replicate in training,” Swan said.
“Wetzikon is host to the largest wheelchair curling tournament there has been in Europe, with 20 teams competing, comprising a mix of international teams and Swiss club teams. It’s a very strong field with many of the world championship teams competing, so will provide a great test for all competitors.”
Please click here to view live streaming from the Wetzikon tournament.
Please click here for details on the 6th Stirling Wheelchair Curling Invitational.
Hugh Nibloe – Skip
images: © Graeme Hart.