Olympic Celebration Tour success in Riga

  • Junior curlers taking some pointers from Olympic medallist Jamie Korab © Latvian Curling Association

The Latvian Curling Association (LCA) recently hosted a World Curling Federation (WCF) Olympic Celebration Tour (OCT) as part of its mission to increase its regular curlers from 200 to 700 by 2022.

Over the four-day event, in the countries capital, Riga, over 350 people got involved, including 250 children at FloorCurl sessions during school time. The event was led by WCF Competitions and Development Officer (CDO) Darrell Ell and 2006 Canadian Olympic gold medallist, Jamie Korab.

There was also on-ice sessions and more experienced junior and adult curlers had the chance to take some curling pointers from Korab.

The LCA had two targets that it wanted to achieve from the OCT stop – first to get maximum media coverage to draw the nation’s attention to curling in Latvia. Secondly, to get more junior curlers playing the sport.

Artis Zentelis, Secretary General of the LCA, said: “I think that we’ve got the first target fulfilled completely. It couldn’t be better for curling, to show up on our main broadcaster and on our countries main web and sports portals. The second one is still in process – we’ve got applications for regular practices from kids that were involved in the OCT, but we expect more to come as we continue to work to attract them.”

Now the OCT has passed the LCA has more plans to help the growth of curling in Latvia. Zentelis continued: “Our plan this season is to visit at least 20 schools with FloorCurl, so far we’ve visited just three of them. We also want to take school sessions to cities where there are other possibilities to play curling.

“In Riga, we are taking part in sport related events like Riga Sports Night, which is attended by almost all sport organisations to attract new people to their sport. Also, curling morning sessions are organised in the public skating arena, in the central square of city.”

The OCT is designed to generate interest in curling in the lead up to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, Korea and capitalise on the interest from Sochi 2014. It is supported by the Foundation for Global Sports Development (GSD).

LCA President, Ieva Palma, said: “It was our pleasure to host the Olympic Celebration Tour in Riga, Latvia. We just couldn’t stand by without using this great opportunity to generate more interest in curling in our country.

“Thank you to the World Curling Federation and The Foundation for Global Sports Development for running this programme and special thanks to Jamie Korab and Darrell Ell who did an excellent job sharing their experience.”

The next stop for the OCT will be in Denver Curling Club in Colorado, USA on 21-23 October, with 2006 Canadian Olympic bronze medallist Shannon Kleibrink.

The World Curling Federation facilitates the growth and development of curling worldwide. It works closely with and mentors established, new and prospective Member Associations and employs a team of CDOs to run quality programmes, camps, courses and produce resources to aid the growth of the sport. The OCT is a vital part of the CDOs’ work.

To learn more about the OCT visit, www.worldcurling.org/olympic-celebration-tour

If you are interested in applying to host an OCT stop please contact WCF CDO, darrell.ell@worldcurling.org

To engage with with the WCF on social media, in the build up to PyeongChang 2018 and at OCT events, follow us on Twitter, Instagram (@WorldCurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags when posting: #wcfoct #curling #Roadto2018

Media coverage from the OCT stop in Riga

Broadcast: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NT89Jsb9QA