Can our Paralympics curlers do it again for Britain?
ParalympicsGB’s curling team – two men and two women, all from Scotland – will be hoping to emulate TeamGB’s medal achievements when they perform at Sochi this week.
The Paralympics curling squad will be hoping to emulate the success of their fellow curlers last month in Sochi by bringing home a medal, writes Becky Horsbrugh. Unlike the earlier Games, where there are separate women’s and men’s teams, the male and female Paralympian curlers compete together.
This year’s squad all hail from Scotland: Gregor Ewan, Jim Gault, Aileen Neilson, Angie Malone and Bob McPherson.
Malone started playing the sport in 2003 and a year later made her international debut, making her the longest-serving player in the squad. She is a reserve on the team this time around, though has a wealth of experience.
Unlike the earlier Games, where there are separate women’s and men’s team,s the male and female Paralympian curlers compete together.
She was part of the Scotland team that took the 2005 World Championships title, and at the 2006 Paralympics in Turin made the podium after the team won silver. She also competed in Vancouver where the British paralympic curlers came sixth.
Neilson was also in that Vancouver squad four years ago, where she created history by becoming the first female skip in international competition. She has retained that role since, and will lead the British team in their opener against defending champions Canada at the Ice Cube Curling Centre.
Although the 42-year-old comes from a family of curlers, she only took up the sport in 2004 and made her international debut two years later. She has taken a career break from her job as a primary school teacher to concentrate full-time on the Paralympics.
Ewan and McPherson will be making their Paralympic debut. They both competed as part of Team Scotland at last year’s World Championships, which were also held in Sochi.
Ewan made his international debut in 2009 after taking up the sport the year before. The 42-year-old narrowly missed out on selection for Vancouver, but in 2011 won silver with Scotland in the 2011 World Championships, and was also part of the 2012 and 2013 World squads.
McPherson was born with spina bifida and took up wheelchair curling in 2007. He made his international debut for Scotland in 2013 where the team finished sixth at the World Championships.
Gault was a late call-up to the squad after Tom Killin was ruled out of the competition due to illness. He has been part of the GB squad for several years and competes for Moray alongside Ewan.