23 Aug 2018 – International curling returns to Naseby, Central Otago this weekend with the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ 2018 Mixed Doubles tournament.
The Kiwi teams are looking forward to meeting top international teams on home ice, and participating in the first World Curling Tour event to be held in the Southern Hemisphere.
The 13 competing teams are from Australia, Canada, Finland, Italy, Japan, Norway, Scotland, USA and New Zealand. Over half of the sides have competed at World Mixed Doubles Championship level, and others have strong credentials.
Team Canada – Jennifer Jones and Brent Laing – have five world titles between them in Women’s and Men’s Championships, while Jones won Women’s Olympic Gold at Sochi in 2014.
Bridget and Sean Becker have the best international record of the Kiwi teams, highlighted by a World Championship silver in 2010. They have also medalled twice at Winter Games, with bronze in 2011 and silver in 2013.
Bridget Becker has competed at every Winter Games NZ since the first edition in 2009.
“I love the Winter Games!” she said. “We get the top international teams coming to New Zealand, curling on our ice. It’s always good, seeing old friends and making new ones, and the curling is always top level. It’s great!”
“We want to enjoy it, and we always want to improve. Curling with Sean for the first time in a long time, it should be fun.”
For Anton Hood and Holly Thompson, both still in the Junior (Under-21) ranks, this is their first Winter Games.
“We’re stoked about playing an international competition on home ice”, said Anton. “And against some of the very best international sides.”
“We’ve been training together every weekend since we were selected just a couple of months ago,” he added. “But we’ve only had one tournament together, and that was our Nationals. We’d just like to play well this week.”
After the official practice day on Saturday 25th, pool play gets under way from Sunday through to Wednesday, and the medals are decided on Thursday 30th. Entry is free at Naseby’s Maniototo Curling International rink.