NZ selection excites OBHS curler

Otago Boys’ High School pupil Hamish Walker (17) trains at the Dunedin Ice Stadium last week....
Otago Boys’ High School pupil Hamish Walker (17) trains at the Dunedin Ice Stadium last week. Photo: Linda Robertson.
For someone who has just been picked for  the New Zealand men’s curling team, Hamish Walker is  remarkably humble.

The year 13 Otago Boys’ High School pupil has been selected for  the New Zealand team for the Pacific-Asia championships.

Held in Sydney in November, the championships offer the top two  teams the chance to progress to the world championships.

The 17-year-old was excited, although he is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

"Yeah, it’s not bad," he said about making the team.

It was the latest in a list of impressive accomplishments.

He is in his third year with the New Zealand under-21 curling team, which  finished 16th at the B world championships in Finland and Sweden the past two years. The team will  head to the championships in Finland again late this year.

Walker  has also finished second in the majority of the national under-21 tournaments he has been to and last month his team won  the open national championships.

From Kyeburn in the Maniototo, Walker has been curling for 11 years.

Curling was a popular sport in the area, including with young people.

"The [indoor] ice rink opened up there, so I just sort of started going down there when I was little and got the hang of it and carried on."

He started at Otago Boys’ High School in 2013, living in the hostel, and joined the school’s curling team so he could keep playing the sport. The OBHS  team often takes second place  in big tournaments, with Maniototo being the team to beat.

Walker expects Maniototo will once again be its biggest competition at this weekend’s South Island secondary schools championships in Dunedin.

Maniototo  contains almost the entire New Zealand under-21 team, except for Walker. Maniototo player  Anton Hood also plays in  the New Zealand men’s team.

That created something of a rivalry, as Walker is competing  against players he grew up with.

He said it was good, though, and hopes Otago Boys’ can claim a win.

The Otago Boys’ team also includes Hamish Walker’s younger brother Hunter, seen as a  promising youngster to keep an eye on.

Hamish Walker also plays flanker in the OBHS senior blues rugby team, as well as enjoying golf.

He is  hoping to get a building apprenticeship in Dunedin next year  and his ultimate goal is curling in the  Winter Olympics.

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