Youngsters brush up on ice skills

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KELSO Ice Rink has, like many other facilities, suffered from the snowy weather, but the winter blues have been kept away thanks to the success of its ‘8 to 80 plus’ project.

Helen Mathieson of the Borders Curling Development Group told TheSouthern: “After winning Big Lottery funding last spring the energy and enthusiasm generated by the project has been amazing.

“All the local curling clubs that have taken advantage of funded ice to encourage new members have reported positive new memberships, while many local established curlers have benefitted with master classes being run both nationally and locally to improve their skills.”

This season the club are offering funded coaching on most Saturday mornings at 9.30am and beginners are welcome to go along and try curling.

As well as the local clubs benefiting from the project the wheelchair users’ club gained members from as far as Newcastle, while the Monday Club for juniors has new children enthusiastically taking part too.

And the advanced juniors (under-13s and under-15s) were assisted to compete in a major competition at Dumfries last weekend where the older of the two groups won the S.A.L.S.C. contest which qualifies them to compete in Aberdeen in March.

The juniors who took part have all learnt their curling skills through the Monday evening club. There is coaching available for all juniors on Mondays at 4–7pm. The under-13s were runners-up in their section.

The local primary and secondary schools, too, have had a great uptake in children going along to try the sport.

Mathieson added: “The sky, or the Olympics, is the limit – all these Border adults and children are getting fitter and making new friends, too.

“It has been a win, win, situation (except for the weather) as the clubrooms have gained television viewing of the ongoing curling, which can be used to help with coaching and, in turn, the coaching staff have benefited from up-to-date technology and various other equipment.”

These same dedicated coaches will soon be encouraging all to play in the end-of-season bonspiel, which welcomes curlers of all ages and abilities to enjoy a game on March 26, as a finale to a successful season.