Scottish Curlers Compete at Youth Olympic Games
The second Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) took place in Lillehammer, Norway, running from Friday 12 February to Sunday 21 February 2016. Scottish junior curlers Ross Whyte, Dumfries, Amy Bryce, Kelso, Callum Kinnear, Perth and Mili Smith, Perth all headed out as part of Team GB to take part in both the mixed event as a team, and individually in the mixed doubles event, where the nationalities are mixed up so that more countries get the chance to compete. The curlers were also seeded, with the best performers paired up with weaker competitors from the mixed team event.
A total of 64 curlers representing 16 nations had the chance to compete for medals in the two unique curling competitions at the Curling Hall in the Stampsletta Ice Venue. Team GB managed to get through the round robin stages with a six wins and one loss, after playing teams from Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Korea, hosts Norway and Sweden. Unfortunately Russia proved too much for them in the quarter finals and they were knocked out after a 9-5 loss.
The competitors still had a chance to medal however, with their new partners in the Mixed Doubles event. Ross Whyte was paired with Yu Han, China, Amy Bryce with Martin Blahovec, Czech Republic, Callum Kinnear with Stefania Constantini, Italy and Mili Smith with Jun Yeong Hong, Korea. Unfortunately both girls were knocked out early on, while Callum Kinnear and his Italian partner managed to make it to the quarter finals, where they narrowly lost to a China/Norway pairing 10-9.
Ross Whyte and his partner Yu Han managed to make it all the way to the final, and although they lost their final game against a strong Switzerland/Japan team, he still came away with a silver medal. Ross had this to say of his mixed doubles experience at the Youth Olympic Games “My partner Yu was amazing. I could not have wished for a better partner. Curling is pretty universal and I tapped where I wanted it or shouted ‘hard’ (for sweeping). Communication could be hard at times, but we found a way.” As well as the action on the ice there was a programme of educational and cultural events for athletes and fans alike. This was part of the Local Organising Committee and International Olympic Committee’s ‘Go Beyond. Create Tomorrow’ vision, which aims to make a lasting impact on the lives of the athletes, as well as creating a new generation of volunteers, coaches and leaders in sport.
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Photos: © WCF / Richard Gray