New Zealand’s curling elite converged on Naseby at the weekend in a bid to take home the title of national champion.
The New Zealand Men’s and Women’s Championships attracted seven men’s teams and three women’s teams from Auckland, Wellington, New Plymouth, Dunedin and Central Otago to take part in the four-day tournament at Maniototo Curling International.
The event boasted former Olympians, junior Olympians and world championship reps, including Anton Hood and Courtney Smith, who came straight from MIQ after representing New Zealand at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championships in Scotland.
The championships play a role in national selection for the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships in November.
On Sunday, the men’s final came down to the wire, with Hood almost forcing another end by drawing the match. However, with the delivery of his last stone, former Olympic curler and team skip Sean Becker secured the gold for his team.
Becker’s team of Warren Dobson, Hamish Walker, Jayden Apuwai-Bishop and Robert McSkimming 6-2.
In the women’s round robin competition, an unbeaten team of Natalie Thurlow, Holly Thompson, Jennifer Stewart, Ruby Kinney, skipped by 2010 World Curling Championship silver medalist Bridget Becker, claimed the gold medal.
The Wendy Becker Sportsmanship Award was awarded to Holly Thompson and Ian Ford.
New Zealand National Curling coach and selector Peter de Boer said despite the sport being less known, its future was “in really good shape”.
“At elite level, that high performance level, we have a group of eight to 10 athletes who are all capable of going overseas and competing at the top level,” he said.