The Olympics are one step closer for the country’s top curlers.
The New Zealand Curling mixed doubles competition took place in Naseby at the weekend and four teams made it through to the NZ Curling Championship next month.
Twelve teams competed in the tournament, including Courtney Smith and Anton Hood, who narrowly missed on Olympic qualification in Aberdeen, Scotland, earlier this year.
The pairings of Natalie Thurlow and Warren Dobson, and Mhairi-Bronte Duncan and Brett Sargon came out on top, winning their pools and qualifying for the national championships next month.
Smith and Hood, and Ruby Kinney and Hunter Walker won the playoff rounds, securing their places in the championships.
The mixed doubles tournament was the first time Thurlow and Dobson had played together for 12 months and after a shaky start, the duo settled into a rhythm as they went on.
“Coming into the last pool game, it wasn’t looking great for us but we’re incredibly lucky that all results went in our favour to leave us on top,” Thurlow said.
Extra training sessions in Dunedin and Naseby paid off for the newly formed team of Sargon and Duncan.
“We’re slowly tweaking our play and growing as a team, and this tournament showed us were on the right path,” Sargon said.
The winners of the NZ Curling Championship have the chance to represent New Zealand in the final Olympic qualifying event in December and the 2022 World Championship in April.