First Minister Celebrates Scotland’s Curling Success

First Minister Alex Salmond last night acknowledged Scotland’s sporting success on the world stage at a celebratory reception held to mark the achievements of its recent world curling champions and medal winning teams.

Four of Scotland’s elite curling teams were invited to Bute House in Edinburgh, the official residence of the First Minister on Wednesday 24th April bringing with them an impressive medal haul of two Gold, one Silver and one Bronze from this year’s World Curling and World Junior Curling Championships.

Eve Muirhead’s World Women’s Champions, Scotland’s World Men’s Bronze medalists skipped by David Murdoch, Kyle Smith’s World Junior Men’s Champions and Hannah Fleming’s World Junior Silver medalists gathered to hear words of congratulations and encouragement from Alex Salmond in a showcase occasion for one of Scotland’s oldest and most successful national sports.

First Minister Alex Salmond said.

“Scotland has an unrivalled heritage in the roaring game of curling, which originated here more than five hundred years ago and has brought us some fantastic sporting success on the world stage, of which the whole of Scotland is justifiably proud.

“Since 2002, our national teams have won an incredible 55 medals, including an unforgettable Olympic gold for Rhona Martin and her rink at Salt Lake City.  This year, the success has continued with a women’s world championship, a men’s junior world championship and Eve Muirhead and her rink becoming the first European team ever to win a Grand Slam of Curling event by taking the Players’ Championship in Toronto just last week.

“I hope that this wonderful run of success continues and also serves to inspire new players to take up their brooms and become the champion curlers of the future!”

2013 began strongly with outstanding performances by Scotland’s junior curling teams at the World Junior Curling Championships in Sochi, Russia in March. Kyle Smith’s team of Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell, Cameron Smith and alternate Hamilton McMillan defeated Russia by 6-2 in the final to become World Junior Champions. This was the first World Junior Gold by Scottish men since 1996.

Hannah Fleming’s 2012 World Junior Champions narrowly missed out on defending their title when they went down in an extra end defeat to Russia by 5-6. Despite finishing the round-robin in top spot Fleming’s team of Lauren Gray, Jennifer Dodds, Abi Brown and alternate Vicky Wright reflected on a strong week having lost only two games but having to settle for silver this time around.

This was the first time Russia had hosted the World Junior Championships which was also used as a test event for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Scotland’s medal success continued through March when Eve Muirhead led her team of Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Claire Hamilton and alternate Lauren Gray to a 6-5 win over Sweden in the gold medal final at the World Women’s Curling Championship to become World Champions. The title was clinched with another final ‘stone of destiny’ in the tenth end making Muirhead and her squad only the second Scottish female team to be crowned world champions after Jackie Lockhart’s world title success in 2002.

The season was rounded off with another medal at the World Men’s Championship in April when Tom Brewster’s Scottish Champions skipped by David Murdoch with Scott Andrews, Michael Goodfellow and Greg Drummond, finished their campaign with Bronze. Having missed out on a place in the final to Canada the Scots saw off Denmark in the Bronze game to ensure they went home with a medal and continue Scotland’s six year run of podium finishes.

Thanks to Scotland’s performances at the World Championships, Team GB has now secured ten out of the approximately fifty athlete quote places expected for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Scotland has been nominated by British Curling to secure ranking points on behalf of Team GB for the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi for both men’s and women’s curling teams. The athletes who will take up the ten slots can originate from any home nation and will be nominated to the British Olympic Association by British Curling in due course.

Pictured: Scotland’s World medal winning teams with First Minister Alex Salmond, Louise Martin Chair of sportscotland, Dave Crosbee Curling Performance Director and Royal Caledonian Curling Club representatives including CEO Bruce Crawford, President Bill Duncan and Vice President Alan Durno. ©Scottish Government/Chris Watt Photography

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