5 QUESTIONS WITH…brother and sister curling champions Bridget and Sean Becker.
Naseby siblings Bridget and Sean Becker have been eliminated from the World Curling Championships in Norway, but they are still satisfied with their performance. They had a 5-2 win-loss record in the playoff rounds, but were beaten 9-4 by Sweden, which went on to win gold. They have qualified for the 2020 World Mixed Doubles Championship, which could also lead to earning qualification points for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The pair took a moment to answer five questions for The News.
Q You’ve had great success as a mixed doubles team. What is it like being able to play alongside your sibling at these events? Is that part of why you are such a strong team?
A It’s great to play alongside your siblings as they understand you as a person so much better than anybody else. We have confidence in each others’ abilities and that only comes from growing up together. You can also talk about just anything and everything.
Q What is the magic in the Maniototo air that contributes to your success?
A Being raised in a rural sporting environment, getting dragged on and off fields, pitches and courts as children and having the support of a community.
Q Who are some of the people you admire in the curling world? What qualities do they have that you respect?
A Our parents, Wendy and Peter Becker, and those local New Zealand curlers who had the foresight to secure funding for a curling rink.
We now have ice of a quality that national teams can train on all year round.
It is starting to bear fruit. [For example] the New Zealand junior men’s curling team qualified for the first time ever to a world A curling championship.
Q Have you had an opportunity to see some sights while in Norway?
A We had a couple of days in Latvia and Oslo, training and some sightseeing. We also had a ferry trip round the fiords of Stavanger on our one day off, which reminded us of Fiordland in New Zealand, with a lot more rock moraine.
We have been focused on training and competition, so not a lot of time for touristy stuff. It is also a very expensive country and we are self funded.
What would you like to see change about the game of curling in New Zealand — do you feel it gets a lot of attention? What would you say to a young person who was unfamiliar with the game?
A We wouldn’t change the game at all. We would, however, like to see more funding secured for national teams travelling offshore.
The sport probably doesn’t get enough recognition, and we quite often punch above our weight.
We would tell a young person of the opportunities out there in the sport and around it, and the lifelong friendships that can be made.