Scotland To Host Four Major Curling Championships
Scotland’s Winter Olympic and Paralympic medal-winning curling skips Eve Muirhead (women’s bronze), David Murdoch (men’s silver) and Aileen Neilson (wheelchair bronze) came together today (Tuesday 23rd December) at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow to celebrate the monumental announcement that the World Curling Federation has awarded Scotland – the home of the sport – four international curling championships from 2016 to 2020 (pictured, photo ©WCF/Richard Gray).
The prestigious series of events will begin in 2016 with the European Championships at Braehead Arena and Curling Rink followed by the World Junior Curling Championships at Curl Aberdeen in 2018, the World Wheelchair Curling Championship at The Peak in Stirling in 2019 and climaxing with the World Men’s Curling Championship at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow in 2020.
This ambitious and unique multi-event package presents a long term commitment to the sport by the national governing body for curling in Scotland, The Royal Caledonian Curling Club, and its bidding partners EventScotland and UK Sport, and key Local Authorities of the City of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, Aberdeen and Stirling. The events will form part of EventScotland’s International Events Programme and UK Sport’s Gold Event Series.
Significant partner funding has been secured across all four championships and this collaborative approach aims to take the sport to the next level in Scotland by delivering a series of events to the highest possible standard and promoting wide spread public participation and engagement.
In 2009 the European Curling Championships in Aberdeen generated around £1 million for the Scottish economy and it is hoped that this impact will be exceeded at both the 2016 Europeans and 2020 World Men’s.
Just returned from victory in the first-ever Women’s Canadian Open – her second Grand Slam event win of the season – Eve Muirhead commented, “the appetite for curling in Scotland is at its highest for years, following the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Bringing international events to Scotland will showcase the sport and inspire future generations”.
David Murdoch, twice a world champion and three times a European champion, said, “what better place to have a world championships than in curling’s home in Scotland? With the examples of the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, we have shown we know how to put on events with great facilities and hospitality. Curlers who come here to compete at these events will feel the passion of the Scottish crowds”.
Aileen Neilson says, “I was inspired when the Scottish team won gold at the 2005 World Wheelchair Championships at Braehead and have now represented Scotland at six world championships. Having a championship on home ice will be a great opportunity to inspire others into curling”.
Speaking about the four-event package, WCF President Kate Caithness said: “We are delighted to confirm this multiple host agreement with Scotland. Securing all four locations is a massive boost to the sport, not only internationally but particularly within Scotland as they look to build on interest in curling generated around the time of the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. We will be working hard with the RCCC, event partners and the four organising committees over the next few years to ensure all of these events are a success”.
Bruce Crawford, CEO of The Royal Caledonian Curling Club added, “We are delighted that Scotland has been awarded these four international curling championships by the World Curling Federation. The bid process has been a collaboration with our partners and the real work begins now, as we start turning these ambitious plans into exciting events. From today we will start working with new partners, sponsors and volunteers to deliver four successful events across Scotland over the next six years.
The events give us the opportunity to showcase our best talent and will provide sports fans with the chance to watch world class sport on home soil. The established TryCurling programme will be used to bring a lasting legacy for curling by attracting thousands of new people to the sport in the 22 ice rinks that we currently use.”
Jamie Hepburn MSP, Scottish Government Sports Minister, said, “In 2014, Scottish curlers had phenomenal success on the world stage, particularly winning medals at the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi. So it’s tremendous news that from 2016 Scotland will host four of the world’s major curling events in our world class facilities. Hosting these events will raise the profile of the sport and give our curlers a huge opportunity to compete in front of their enthusiastic and patriotic fans here in Scotland, the home of curling, which I hope will encourage more people try their hand at this wonderful sport.”
Simon Morton, Director of Major Events and International Relations at UK Sport, concluded, “This was a really innovative bid spanning both World and European competition and Olympic and Paralympic disciplines and will help build on the outstanding success of Curling and Wheelchair Curling at Sochi 2014.
This latest success means championships have now been secured right through to 2020 demonstrating our long term commitment to building an enduring legacy for the UK as a great host of international sport. It also marks a major milestone for our National Lottery funded, Gold Event Series, which has now secured more than 50 world class sporting events to inspire the nation.”
To kick off the series, the 2016 European Curling Championships will take place at the Braehead Arena and Curling Club between 19th and 26th November 2016.
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said: “Major events play a key role in Scottish tourism and our world-leading approach has put us at the forefront of this global industry. Securing one event is always a big deal, but to secure four at the same time with a global appeal such as curling is an incredible feat.
“Scotland is the perfect stage for events and we are in the enviable position of having some truly world-renowned venues, which attract major one-off events and Championships. These new events complement our existing and ever-growing portfolio through to 2020, and will provide a platform to drive domestic and international tourism, while delivering significant economic impacts for Scotland.”
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said: “It has been our ambition, as part of Glasgow’s major events strategy, to attract a World Curling Federation Championships for a number of years and I am thrilled that we can today announce that the jewel in the crown of these events – the 2020 World Men’s – will be coming to the city and taking place at our world-class SSE Hydro.
“Building on the city’s existing strong partnerships with the RCCC, UK Sport and EventScotland, we will ensure that all requirements and expectations of the World Curling Federation family will be exceeded. This is a massive vote of confidence in Glasgow by the WCF and I look forward to extending a warm welcome to the city to everyone involved in these championships, which will showcase the very best, global talent in men’s curling.”
Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “We are delighted to welcome this prestigious event to Renfrewshire and are sure local sports fans will be delighted to get the chance to see the best curlers in Europe take to the ice at Braehead. Visitors to Renfrewshire will find the area has loads to offer, from our historic town centres, excellent transport links, and some of Scotland’s best shopping and leisure facilities at Braehead.
“Between hosting sporting occasions like this and Paisley’s upcoming bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021, the area is firmly establishing itself on the map as a destination for top-class events”.
Gary Turnbull General Manager of intu Braehead said: “This will be the biggest curling competition to take place in Scotland for many years and it’s testament to the high standard of ice sports facilities we have at intu Braehead that we have been chosen to host such a prestigious tournament.
“We have an Olympic size ice pad at The Arena and a separate dedicated curling rink, which will provide the best ice surface for such a world-class curling competition.
“It’s also a great boost for the Renfrewshire economy as thousands of competitors and spectators from all over Europe will be coming to the area for the tournament.”
The PEAK/Active Stirling Chief Executive Andrew Bain said: “We have a vibrant local curling community with a strong wheelchair club coupled with our on-going support of the British Curling World Class Performance programme, making Stirling a great destination for the 2019 World Wheelchair Curling Championships.”
Stirling Council Provost Mike Robbins said: “I’m delighted that our joint bid with The Royal Caledonian Curling Club for these fantastic sporting events has been a success. It’s a great testament to the fantastic sports facilities we offer here in Stirling and the important role we play in helping Scotland perform on an international stage.”