BRITISH CURLING ANNOUNCES MEN’S PODIUM AND PODIUM POTENTIAL TEAMS FOR 2020/21 SEASON
Having achieved a first-ever double this season when he won the Scottish men’s and mixed doubles titles Bruce Mouat reckons he has ‘unfinished business’ as he looks forward to the new season ahead as British Curling announces its podium and podium potential teams for 2020/21.
Victory in the those national championships had earned him and mixed doubles partner Jen Dodds the right to become the first Scottish players to contest two World Championships in the same season, but they were denied that opportunity when the men’s, women’s and mixed doubles World Championships were cancelled.
For Mouat and his men’s rink team-mates Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie and Hammy McMillan it had promised to be a particular highlight of the season, because the men’s event had been due to take place on home ice in Glasgow.
However they have now had time to come to terms with their disappointment and, having been selected for podium support on the Olympic curling programme for the year ahead, Mouat is keen that they replicate the form which saw them maintain their position as the top Scottish men’s team in the world rankings last season.
“Like everyone, we are obviously not sure what the new season will look like or when it will actually resume, but one thing we are sure of is that we will be putting all our efforts into it once it starts as we feel the way the 2019-20 season ended it left us with unfinished business,” said Mouat.
“It is always exciting to get that call that you have secured your place on the programme and I never take it for granted. The whole team are grateful to receive the support from British Curling and the staff and expertise at sportscotland that we get access to as part of that. It will be good to get going again when it is safe to do so.
“Meanwhile we will continue to work hard during lockdown and we all trust in each other that we are all putting 100% into staying fit and active and doing as much as we can to be competition ready.
“Every week has been a bit of an adjustment, but it is getting easier as you get more into the new routine. It was certainly tougher earlier on, when we should have been competing at the World Champs in Glasgow or World Mixed in Canada or at a Slam. Now the season would have been finished anyway and we have had plenty of time to relax and rest which is a massive part of performing, but I have to be honest I would rather be competing than resting.
“We had really good results building up to the climax of the season, retaining our Perth Masters title and winning the Scottish for the third year in a row and we would have enjoyed topping the season off with a medal and a good Slam result. So there is that ‘What if’ feeling and we all wonder what could have been.
“However we are more determined than ever and we have used this time productively to re-set and get ready again.”
Mouat last competed at a World Mixed Doubles Championships in 2017 and just missed out on going to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in 2018. He was pleased with what he achieved with new partner Dodds on his return to the discipline this year and despite the disappointment for the pair as their event was cancelled, Mouat is nevertheless looking forward to enjoying mixed doubles again.
“I was really happy about the prospect of returning to the World Mixed with Jen after a gap of several years and it would have been exciting to see how we would have fared. Despite that, it is something else to look forward to when we can train again as we will all get the chance to train for mixed doubles every Friday like we did last year and I am very excited about being able to continue that,” he added.
Team Paterson has been selected for podium potential support for the new season and their skip Ross Paterson feels that he and team mates Kyle Waddell, Duncan Menzies and Michael Goodfellow have made the most out of their lockdown time in seeking to prepare for next season’s targets.
“It is always great to be selected to the programme and we are on it because we want to be the best we can be and we are continually looking at ways to build on what we have already achieved, so this is another step towards realising those goals,” said Paterson.
“We have been able to capitalise on this time by doing lots of gym work at home as well as lots of other work behind the scenes so that we get the maximum benefit from this lockdown time as we plan for the season ahead.
“With time on our side, we have been able to have more video meetings as a five with our team coach, so we feel we have used our time in a positive way and hopefully that will put us a step ahead when we start competing again.
“We have remained competitive as a unit, setting ourselves weekly challenges to complete which has been good and I also bought a bike and gave myself a new and additional fitness challenge which has been good for exercise within the permitted national guidelines.”
In a season that saw the quartet win bronze at the European Championships and reach the final in their last Tour outing at the Aberdeen International, the last event of the competitive season before curling events were cancelled, Paterson believes his rink have used the downtime judiciously.
“It has been a different experience, but I feel as though as a team we have made sure we got a lot of positives out of lockdown, getting in more planning and being better prepared than before and moving forwards it will be exciting when we can start putting that into action again.”
British Curling Executive Performance Director Nigel Holl said: ““The abrupt end to the 2019/20 season has challenged every athlete in the programme, but I have been most impressed by how they have adapted. Training continues- maybe not on ice currently - but in unique ways to ensure that when we do get back on ice, athletes will be “good to go”!
“The two men’s teams announced today of course have Beijing 2022 in their sights. Despite the current uncertainties, I’m sure they will both have excellent opportunities in the season ahead to demonstrate their Olympic potential. They do however know they cannot rest on their laurels because the development systems we now have in place mean that they are also set to be challenged by some highly promising emerging athletes and teams.”
Men’s Podium: Bruce Mouat
Men’s Podium Potential: Ross Paterson
A total of 16 athletes have been selected for podium and podium potential support by the programme.
Images: PPA Graeme Hart