Winter Paralympics: GB curlers aim to build on season start

By Elizabeth HudsonBBC Sport
Scotland skip Aileen Neilson

British wheelchair curling coach Tony Zummack believes the team's start to the season is encouraging as they build up to the Sochi Winter Paralympics.

The four-strong GB squad for the Games, which is made up entirely of Scots, was selected in August.external-link

Since then Tom Killin, Gregor Ewan, Rob McPherson and skip Aileen Neilson have been training and playing together.

"The team is shaping up well and we've got off to our best start in three years," Zummack told BBC Scotland.

"We have won medals in our first three competitions and our win/loss record is excellent and that bodes well going into our next couple of events."

After missing out on medals in February's World Championships in Sochi, the squad started the season's build-up to the Paralympics with wins in events in Denmark and Kinross, where they beat Norway and Sweden, before taking silver in the Canadian Open Wheelchair Bonspiel where they lost in the final to Team Alberta.

Next up are two competitions in Canada where they will continue to fine-tune their plans before the start of the wheelchair curling event in Sochi on Saturday 8 March - but Zummack knows there is is till work to be done.

"Choosing the team early has given the core four athletes as much time as possible to play and train together," he added. "We will have between 60 and 80 matches before Sochi, which will be the most a GB team has played before a Games.

"It is a busy time and next we have two trips to Canada so there is extensive preparation as well as off-ice training.

"The team has the ability to win a medal but we need to put in a solid performance and continue to focus on the technical aspects of the game and our tactics."