Last month, I asked Royal Caledonian Curling Club CEO Colin Grahamslaw, "Can you expand on how the RCCC will help British Curling in 'running the British team for the EYOF''', this statement having appeared in the Board Minutes. His reply then was, "Not really, as we have not made final arrangements yet – but I would expect that it would be the same as last time where the Royal Club ran the programme on behalf of BC."
Things have obviously moved on somewhat, to judge from the post on the Royal Club website today, here. The RCCC is now looking for young curlers to represent Great Britain at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Slask Beskidy in Poland between February 14-21, 2009. The event website is here.
How does the event fit in to a crowded calendar next season? It follows the Scottish Junior Championships, and is before the Junior Worlds. It overlaps with the World University Games in Harbin.
Britain has a guaranteed place for a girl’s team, for which five members are required. To be eligible, curlers must have been born between July 1, 1990, and June 30, 1992, and have a full British passport. A boy's team is on a reserve list. Presumably the eligibility for the event is dependent on placings at previous World Juniors.
The Royal Club is also looking for an experienced coach to work under the direction of British Curling and the British Olympic Association, to prepare and manage the girl’s team (and possibly a boy’s team) for the event!
Applications should go to Rhona Martin at Cairnie House by the end of this month.
As for the event itself, some background can be found here. The European Youth Olympic Festival is a biennial multi-sport event for youth athletes from the forty-eight member countries of the Association of European Olympic Committees. EYOF's summer games were held for the first time in Brussels in 1991, and a winter edition began two years later in Aosta. Currently the sports that are included in the winter games are downhill and cross country skiing, biathlon, nordic combined, ski-jumping, snowboarding, figure skating, ice hockey, and curling.
The curling venue for the 2009 EYOF is interesting. A special rink has been built and the Polish National Junior Curling Championships took place in the arena at the Bielsko Mechanic School, as a trial event for the EYOF. Installing the rink began only two weeks before the competition was held. The school's sports hall was covered with special refrigerated mats, on which the ice for the curling rinks was laid.
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