BRITISH CURLING ANNOUNCES PROGRAMME TEAMS 2018-19
British Curling has announced its investment in 21 athletes across five programme supported men’s and women’s curling teams for 2018-19, in the first year of the Olympic cycle as the curlers build towards the next Winter Olympics in 2022.
Olympic silver medallist Michael Goodfellow, who played lead for Team Murdoch when they represented Great Britain at the Winter Games in Sochi, starts the next four-year cycle as part of a new line-up. Goodfellow joins forces with another Olympian, Kyle Waddell, who competed for Team GB at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang and Duncan Menzies adds youth to the experienced quartet that will be led by Ross Paterson. Paterson was a member of Team Brewster when they won the Scottish Championships in 2016, but more recently was the fifth player for Team Mouat at the World Championships in Las Vegas earlier this year, when they won bronze representing Scotland.
Goodfellow said of teaming up with programme rivals who are now his team mates: “It’s a really exciting time and great to be asked to be part of a new line up. It feels like a fresh start for me.
“They were fierce competitors to play against and it fills me with a lot of confidence knowing that these guys capable of making all the big shots are on my side. What is key now is that we get the best out of this combination, get the best out of each other so we can push on in this next Olympic cycle.
“Having been part of two Olympic cycles before I know the highs and lows of the game and I know what it takes to get there. It was hard not being part of the Olympics in South Korea and it has made me hungrier for it and I don’t want to be left behind next time. Four years seems a long time away but in reality you only have two or three seasons to prove yourselves, so we really have to hit the ground running this season,” he added.
“There are great teams on the programme so we need to start getting world ranking points to qualify for the Slams. We have a number of events we will be targeting throughout the year but obviously the main one will be the Scottish Champs and it will be about the team that performs best at the right time and we have a team of very experienced players who can achieve that.”
Also on the programme is Team Mouat, which remains unchanged after a meteoric rise in the world rankings having only started out together at the beginning of last season, a year in which they claimed three tournament wins in Canada, including becoming the first Scottish Men's team to win a Grand Slam when they became Boost National Champions. They continued their winning form by taking the Dumfries Challenger Series title and won the Scottish Championships before making their debut at the World Championships in Las Vegas earlier this year where they won bronze. They will look to continue to build on those successes which have taken them to No.6 in the world rankings.
The third men’s team on the programme at Performance Foundation level is Team Muirhead, containing four of the five Team GB representatives at the Winter Games in South Korea. Glen Muirhead who was the fifth player for Team Smith at his first Winter Olympics now moves to skip, Kyle Smith who skipped his team to European silver in St Gallen last year, will play third, whilst their siblings Thomas Muirhead and Cammy Smith will play at second and lead respectively, keeping their unit an all family affair.
They are one of two Team Muirheads on the programme, the more familiar unit led by Sochi bronze medal winning skip and reigning European Champion Eve Muirhead, who has also reshaped her team as she continues her rehabilitation following hip surgery at the end of last season. Vice skip Anna Sloan, who has been part of the team that won the world championships in 2013, European Championships in 2011 and 2017, has decided after two Olympic cycles winning bronze in 2014 and just missing out on a medal to finish fourth in PyeongChang, to take a career break to pursue other interests.
Long standing team member, Vicki Adams, who has recently married and continues under her married name Chalmers and Lauren Gray both remain on the team, whilst Jennifer Dodds and Vicky Wright are the new recruits.
Team Jackson, 2017 world junior silver medallists have maintained their line up from last year when they made their debut at senior women’s level and will continue to receive support at Performance Foundation level.
British and Scottish Curling Performance Director Graeme Thompson said: “Congratulations to all of the members who have been selected to the British and Scottish Curling performance programme. We are delighted that the programme can support and invest in those who are on the journey towards Beijing 2022. We know that the world stage in Curling is becoming more competitive and it will take a lot of ability and commitment for our teams to continue to achieve at the top of the sport. That is our clear aim.
“At the start of a new cycle we have been able to make a number of team changes. The whole programme can draw encouragement from the significant strides new formations have made over the past year which demonstrates how quickly, potentially, new teams can achieve big successes. Everyone needs to embrace those changes where we see its benefit to the athletes and the programme moving forward.”
Vicki Chalmers (formerly Adams)
Photos: Perthshire Picture Agency - Graeme Hart