Olympic bronze medallists Team Muirhead will take on some of the best teams in the world at a new international curling event in Scotland which will be televised live on BBC Alba later this month.
The EDF Energy City of Perth Ladies International (31 March – 3 April), which will take place at the Dewar’s Centre, is a new addition on the Curling Champions Tour (CCT) calendar and is run by the organisers of the Perth Masters, which over the years has become the biggest international curling event in Scotland. Bill Duncan, Chair of the City of Perth Ladies Organising Committee welcomed the comprehensive coverage, “We are delighted that BBC Alba is providing live coverage from every day of our ladies event, which has already attracted a stellar line-up of the world’s best curlers in the very first year of hosting the event.
“BBC Alba’s support is hugely important in helping establish this new event, providing high calibre international competition which is vital for the sport of curling in Scotland and we hope this becomes every bit as successful as our Perth Masters tournament which is now in its 40th year and was also broadcast live by BBC Alba for the first time this year.”
The event has attracted 20 teams from eight different countries, seven of them in the world’s top 20, including current world champions Team Paetz and their fellow Swiss rink Team Tirinzoni who are currently two places above them at number five in the world rankings. Canada is sending a powerful contingent worthy of the sport’s leading nation, including Team Sweeting, Team Fleury and Team Flaxey ranked third, 12th and 20th in the world respectively, while Asia is represented by Japan’s leading rink Team Ogasawara, the world no.17.
Other Scottish rinks include Gina Aitken – who is heading to the World Mixed Doubles Championship with newly crowned World Junior champion Bruce Mouat next month – as well as her
younger sister Karina who will be skipping her own rink. Sophie Jackson who led the Scottish women’s challenge at that World Junior Championship will also be in the mix along with other up and coming rinks skipped by Lauren Gray, Hannah Fleming and Katie Murray, whose team includes local youngster Mili Smith who made her debut at the Youth Olympics in Lillehammer last month.
British Curling’s Performance Director Graeme Thompson said, “British Curling is delighted that we have been able to secure further broadcast coverage from BBC Alba and would like to attribute this to a collaboration of a number of partners, supported by our sponsors, who are working together in order to highlight the sport. “This is vital for the development of our sport and essential for the progression of our Scottish curlers on the international scene and year on year will benefit curlers, helping them to realise their aspirations to compete at an international event.”
Armin Harder, from CCT Events added, “Curling Champions Tour is pleased to be able to support the City of Perth Ladies International. CCT was extremely pleased with the results of the live coverage at the men’s event in January and, thanks to the sponsorship and support of Le Gruyère AOP, looks forward to being able to help provide TV and internet coverage of this inaugural women’s event.”
Nine games will be televised live on BBC Alba from the opening day of action on Thursday through to the quarter finals, semi finals and the final on the fourth and final day of the event. BBC Alba’s commentary team will again comprise Derek Mackay and former world champion Jackie Lockhart. Curling fans will also be able to access live internet streaming of the event with a game from each draw available to view over the four days of competition.