WHEELCHAIR CURLERS HEAD FOR WETZIKON CHAMPS
Paralympic bronze medallist Aileen Neilson will skip the team selected to represent Scotland at the 10th Wheelchair Curling Tournament in Wetzikon, Switzerland this weekend (13-15 October) before a short turn around to head home to compete in the Stirling Wheelchair International which gets underway next week (17-20 October).
The team of six - including Neilson’s fellow 2014 Paralympic bronze medallists Angie Malone, Gregor Ewan and Robert McPherson as well as Hugh Nibloe and John Doyle – have a proven track record in acquitting themselves well under pressure after last season saw them re-qualify for the World’s, win bronze at those championships and also qualify Team GB a place at the forthcoming Paralympic Games in PyeongChang next March.
Neilson is keen that the team utilises that form during the challenge of back to back tournaments to hone their preparations during their all important Paralympic season.
Neilson said: “We have been working hard and are looking forward to competing in Switzerland at the Rollstuhl Curling tournament.
“It is a strong field with twelve teams competing and it will be a great opportunity to play against teams who will be at the Paralympic Games in March. On returning from Switzerland we head straight to our home rink to compete in the Stirling Wheelchair Curling International Invitation and hope we can count on some good local support.”
Head Wheelchair Coach Sheila Swan confirmed that what the team now needed was time together competing to start testing their technical training but also their tactical strategies against opponents at the top of their game.
“This weekend will be a great opportunity for the squad to travel as a whole and to test out different line ups, as well as challenging the athletes by playing them in new positions,” said Swan.
“The Danish Open demonstrated that there were key areas to work upon so we will be able to gauge what we have learned from that in another competition environment where there will be quality teams to test ourselves against.
“Swiss Wheelchair Curling has a number of good clubs and has great strength and depth. Added to the strong club teams, there are a number of our Paralympic rivals in the field, so we are looking forward to competing again in Wetzikon, which always hosts a great event.
“Then we head back to familiar territory and home ice in Stirling, but it is important that we use both these events as every tournament is crucial to the team’s development to ensure we are getting our preparations right in the lead up to PyeongChang so that every time we get on the ice, we perform to our best ability.”
John Doyle (Stonehouse)
Gregor Ewan (Elgin)
Angie Malone (Glasgow)
Robert McPherson (Bellshill)
Aileen Neilson (Strathaven) – Skip
Hugh Nibloe (Stranraer)
13 – 15 October - 10th Wheelchair Curling Tournament in Wetzikon
17 - 20 October – 4th Stirling Wheelchair Curling International
Please click here for information and results from Wetzikon
Photo: Perthshire Picture Agency - Graeme Hart.