The QRC Winter Games NZ Mixed Doubles Curling Tournament presented by Forsyth Barr gets under way in Naseby, Central Otago tomorrow, and NZ Curling’s National Coach Peter de Boer says the Kiwi players are raring to go.
The top three teams from the 2019 New Zealand Championships will carry the home side’s hopes, including back-to-back champions Jess and Ben Smith who will use this event to gain valuable experience for the 2020 World Championship in Canada.
“Mixed Doubles will be a big part of NZ Curling’s future,” said de Boer, “and for our top players to get this sort of international competition at home is just huge.”
There is a wealth of experience amongst the rest of the field at national, world and Olympic level. Australia’s Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt reached the semi-finals this year’s World Championship, and the USA’s Tabitha Peterson and Joe Polo earned bronze in 2016. Polo also won Olympic gold the with the USA Men last year, while Finland’s Markku Uusipaavalniemi also a past Olympic medallist.
Fourteen games – one from each round, including the playoffs – will be screened live through the week on Sky Sport 9.
The twelve teams will play in two pools from Tuesday through to Friday, and the top three from each pool will qualify for playoffs. The medals games will be on Saturday afternoon.