Winter Paralympic bronze medallist Aileen Neilson has spoken of her delight at being selected for the British Curling wheelchair squad for the next two years.


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The 47-year-old Scot skipped Great Britain to a bronze medal at Sochi four years ago and has appeared at three consecutive winter Paralympic games.

Fellow 2018 ParalympicsGB medallists Robert McPherson and Hugh Nibloe have also been selected alongside newcomer John Doyle.

Despite her experience, Neilson admitted she was made to wait to find out whether her selection was guaranteed.

“Obviously I am very excited to be selected to the programme again, I never become complacent about this, so it is always rewarding to be named,” said Neilson.

“Plus, it is fantastic to welcome some new faces to the squad who will bring their own energy and enthusiasm to the game and that new dynamic is an exciting prospect in such an important year ahead.”

It has been a relatively successful year for the quartet, winning silver at the Stirling Wheelchair Curling International and gold at the US Wheelchair Curling Open.

Despite missing out on qualifying for the medal matches at the PyeongChang Paralympics, Neilson is hopeful that the British team can deliver at their home championships in Stirling next March.

She said: “It is an important season for all of our new squad as we prepare for a home World Championships in Stirling next March and I am hopeful that kind of exposure will bring good crowds to our sport and enhanced profile and interest.

“We will all be hoping to get selected to that team to represent Scotland which will fuel a lot of our motivation right at the start of the Beijing Paralympic cycle and it would be good to get off to a good start.

“There is a lot at stake and our preparations will benefit from our year round world class curling facility at the National Curling Academy (NCA) at The Peak in Stirling, which will be a valuable asset to us as we prepare to take on the world’s best curlers in the months and year ahead.”

Alongside Neilsen, five other new recruits have been selected for the Great British programme, including 2016 British wheelchair Open winner Charlotte McKenna and Mary Bell.

Outside of sport, Bell is also a talented musician, and was named ‘Scotland’s Unsung Hero’ at the inaugural BBC Music Day in 2015 in recognition of her work teaching music to deaf young people.

Reflecting on the additions, Head Wheelchair Coach Sheila Swan said: “It is vital that we continue to compete at the highest level of the game and having new squad members in the mix makes it is an exciting time for us.”

Sportsbeat 2018


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