Curling: Naseby hosts Australian champs

The Queensland mixed doubles team of Gerald Chick (left) and Jenn Thomas at the Naseby...
The Queensland mixed doubles team of Gerald Chick (left) and Jenn Thomas at the Naseby International Curling Rink last weekend. Photo supplied.
Naseby is a small rural town in the Maniototo but it now has an international reputation for curling because its ice rink is one of the best in the world.

This was demonstrated last weekend when the Australian Curling Federation held its national mixed doubles championships at the Naseby Indoor Curling Rink.

Seven teams competed for the right to represent Australia at the world mixed doubles championships at Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy, next April.

The championship final was won by the Queensland pair of Gerald Chick and Jenn Thomas who beat Hugh Milikin (New South Wales) and Kim Forge (Victoria) 9-3.

The decision of the Australians to hold their national championships at Naseby has pleased the manager of the Naseby Indoor Curling Rink Fred Newman.

"It's made us very proud. Our rink is going from strength to strength," Newman told the Otago Daily Times yesterday.

"The Australians enjoyed playing on international quality ice."

The Australian Curling Federation chose the Naseby rink as its national championships venue because of the lack of quality international curling ice available in Australia.

"We've got nothing to match this in Australia," Milikin (51) said.

"We curl on ice hockey rinks.

But the ice is so bad that I wouldn't even bother skating on it.

"We have nothing to match what you have here. Training and competing on a good surface helps us to refine our game.

"You have good rocks here and the ice is superb. You should be very proud of what you have here. You have world-class facilities."

Milikin has been skip of the Australian curling team since it first entered international competition at the Pacific championships in 1991.

He started curling in Vancouver 24 years ago and emigrated to Sydney four years later.

He was Australia' s first international skip and still holds the top spot in the men's four.

Australia competed at the Olympic Games at Albertville, France, in 1992, when curling was a demonstration sport and it finished seventh of eight teams.

It is expected to be in the 10 top-ranked teams and qualify for the Olympics at Vancouver in 2010.

Australia is ranked eighth at the moment.

The Australian men's team travelled to New Zealand three times last year to train on the ice at Naseby and the Dunedin Ice Stadium before the Pacific championships in Beijing.

The Australians brought a squad of 26 to Naseby last week.

The Queensland junior team and the Australian women's team spent the time training on the ice.


Add a Comment