Exciting time for sport and region: Inder

An international flavour penetrated the Maniototo as the inaugural world qualification event got under way at the Naseby Indoor Curling Rink yesterday.

Eight men’s and eight women’s teams from around the globe have converged on the  town for the event which runs until January 23.

The tournament functions as a remodelled pathway for both world championships events, to be held in March.

Danish curler Kasper Wiksten follows through during a practice run on the first day of the world...
Danish curler Kasper Wiksten follows through during a practice run on the first day of the world qualification event in Naseby yesterday. Photos: Adam Burns
New Zealand Curling Association chairman Sam Inder said it was an exciting time for the sport and region.

"It’s arguably the fastest growing winter sport in the world.

"With teams from 14 countries from around the world causing a major influx into the village, we’re excited."

Each team  had numerous practice sessions on the opening day across all four sheets of the playing rink.

New Zealand lead curler Warren Dobson sweeps away.
New Zealand lead curler Warren Dobson sweeps away.
After the New Zealand junior men’s team clinched the gold medal at the world junior B championships in Finland last week, there will be interest in how New Zealand fares during the event.

Hometown hero Anton Hood will line up for the Kiwis after his triumph with the juniors.

New Zealand men’s skipper Scott Becker said their success had galvanised the seniors.

"They have shown us if you work hard and play your shots anything can happen.

The New Zealand men’s team of (from left) Scott Becker, Sean Becker, Warren Dobson, Simon Neilson...
The New Zealand men’s team of (from left) Scott Becker, Sean Becker, Warren Dobson, Simon Neilson and Anton Hood prepare to hit the ice.
"It is sport," he said.

In the opening women’s round-robin games, Hungary proved too strong for Poland, winning 11-5, and Brazil came from behind to beat Estonia 10-6.

Finland edged Hong Kong 8-7 and, after a tight tussle for most of their encounter, China eventually overpowered New Zealand 12-5.

The New Zealand women will  face Estoniathis morning, and their male counterparts play Poland this afternoon.

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