Curling: High praise for stadium after champs

World Curling Federation president Les Harrison believes the world junior championships could be held at the Dunedin Ice Stadium.

"The juniors [under-21] would be good for Dunedin because of its large student population," Harrison, of Canada, told the Otago Daily Times.

He attended last week's world senior championships in Dunedin and was impressed by the facilities and ice conditions.

"It was the first world championship to be held in the southern hemisphere and the tournament was very well organised," Harrison said.

"It was beyond everyone's expectations."

He said the Dunedin Ice Stadium was a world-class facility and the ice conditions throughout the championships matched the best in the world.

"It was appropriate that the southern hemisphere's first world championships should be held in Otago, because the province has 136 years of curling history," Harrison said.

World championships had previously been held in Europe or North America.

The elite world championships are not expected to be shifted because of the high spectator interest and the revenue stream they bring to the World Curling Federation.

About 78,000 spectators watched the elite world championships in Canada.

Spectator interest in the senior world championships in Canada was similar to what was seen in Dunedin last week. A crowd of 500 watched the semifinals and finals in the city on Saturday.

In a move to develop the sport, world championships had been held in Japan in 2007, and Korea this year.

"The big media coverage of these events had paid off for local clubs," Harrison said.

Chief umpire Bill Robertson, of Canada, who has officiated at 60 international events, praised the Dunedin facility.

"It was ideal for an event like this, with the large viewing area upstairs and the space in the building to hold team meetings," Robertson said.

"At most championships it is necessary to move to another building to hold team meetings."

New Zealand Curling Association president Darren Carson said New Zealand officials had demonstrated they could organise and run a world-class event.

"The Dunedin Curling Club did an outstanding job to pull it off," Carson said.

"The 35 club members pushed above their weight."

Organising committee chairman Edwin Harley said it had cost $80,000 to stage the event.

"We know how to run a world championships and would like to host the world junior championships," Harley said.

"We will investigate that possibility in the future."

Next year's world senior championships will be held at Chelyablinsk, two hours east of Moscow, in Russia.


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