Chance to see young world-class curlers hone their skills

The top echelon of young curling talent from the Pacific-Asia region will hone their skills in the inaugural World Curling Federation Pacific-Asia Youth Curling Camp at Naseby's Maniototo Curling International ice rink this summer. 
Only half the rink will be used, but spectators are most welcome to see more than 20 young men and women aged under 21 from New Zealand, Australia, Korea and Japan in action. An officials camp will be held at the rink on December 28 and 29 before the youth camp starts on December 30 and ends on January 5.

‘‘Members of the public can come along and watch and, if they want, even have a go at curling on the two lanes alongside them,'' says Nelson Ede, development officer at Maniototo Curling International.

The World Curling Federation has selected two top Canadian coaches plus other coaches from each represented country to be course instructors at the youth camp.

‘‘It targets those who are actively competitive curlers and is to develop the skills of the younger talented curlers,'' says Mr Ede.

Normally, curling youth camps are held in Europe and places fill quickly because of the Continent's strong pool of young talent.

Some curlers from the Pacific-Asia region have previously attended, including New Zealand players, but have largely had to fund their own way.

‘‘The timing (of this camp) is based around the Asian school holidays and the availability of instructors,'' notes Mr Ede.
‘‘This is the first time we have held one for this region and we are hoping to make it an annual event.''

The week-long camp serves as a beneficial warmup for the New Zealand junior teams. At the end of January they will compete in a Pacific-Asia tournament for a chance to qualify for the World Junior Curling Championships.

The New Zealand national men's and women's teams left for China last week with the top two teams also qualifying for the world championships. Competing in the world championships is a chance to earn points to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia.