Disappointed curlers may set up own competition

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Curling has been removed from the winter games lineup, upsetting those behind the sport in Central Otago, where it has a strong following.
Ice hockey has also been removed from the New Zealand Winter Games programme, in a move that aims to give the event a stronger focus on snow sports.

Winter Games chief executive Martin Toomey confirmed the move.
He said the games had to be financially sustainable and it would be centred on the Wanaka and Queenstown areas.
The games would focus on skiing, free ride events and park and pipe events.
The centralisation of events made them easier to cover and would cut down on costs.
Mr Toomey said it was disappointing the sports had to go, but it was no reflection on the people from those sports, who had put in a huge effort and were great to work with.

Winter games curling manager and NZ Curling Executive president Sam Inder was ‘‘disappointed’’ by the move.
However, talks were already under way to establish another tournament to make up for the exclusion.
‘‘We’ve been in touch with the Australians with a view of creating an event of our own of some sort.’’

However, that was not expected to happen this winter.
He was now looking on the bright side.
‘‘It gives us a year to create an event here — that’s our philosophy at the moment.’’
Mr Inder said news that curling had been removed from the lineup had not come as a complete shock.
‘‘I had a feeling when [Winter Game leaders] called us to a meeting in January to explore all areas. I just felt then we are a bit of an oddity and are a long way from Queenstown and Wanaka. But I don’t think anyone that’s ever been competing has been disappointed [by that distance from other events].’’

NZ Curling Executive treasurer Ken Gillespie was also disappointed by the decision, which he understood had been made about six weeks ago.
However, he was optimistic another event for curling would be established.
‘‘We’ll find a sort of competition we can have to replace the winter games.’’
The games take place over two weeks and are usually scheduled to start in the last week of August and finish in the first week of September.
-Additional reporting, Otago Daily Times

ALEXIA.JOHNSTON
@alliedpress.co.nz