Pacific-Asia Championships volunteers take to the ice

  • Volunteer Aigerim Amanzholova tries sliding on the ice Photo: WCF

The Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2015 (PACC), making their debut in Kazkahstan this year, are now well underway, with the five women’s teams and eight men’s teams in the midst of round-robin play, all staking their claim to qualify for the 2015/16 World Curling Championships.

Away from the fierce international competition, on Monday (9 November) evening, there was an opportunity for the event’s 25 volunteers to take to the ice and try their hand at curling.

This was the first time, for most of them, to have a go at this winter Olympic and Paralympic sport.

One volunteer, Aigerim Amanzholova, who has been responsible for the PACC info desk, said: “This was my first time curling and it was amazing.

“Curling seems like a simple game, but when you play it is hard. I understood that curling is not just ice and stones, it is a game where athletes are always working hard.

“I hope to play again. There are opportunities in Almaty to play curling, so maybe I will play in a competition or take a course in curling.”

Bringing the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships to Kazakhstan is all part of developing the sport and seeing new curlers curling in this country.

World Curling Federation Vice-President, Hugh Millikin, said: “Hosting events in developing markets is one way the World Curling Federation can assist Member Associations in growing the sport in their country.

“Here in Almaty we hope to use the PACC to expand the interest in curling in Kazakhstan.

“The spectators can see top level athletes competing in the Championships on World Class facilities. There has been time set aside for newer curlers to use the ice set up for the Championships to experience curling for the first time.

“Also some of Kazakhstan’s existing curlers can gain valuable experience taking advantage of the Olympic level environment.”

Viktor Kim, General Secretary of the Kazakhstan Curling Association, said: “To bring the game of curling through such a great event like PACC 2015 is an unbelievable opportunity for people in Kazakhstan. Especially when you have a chance to play curling on the fantastic ice that has been made by one of the best ice technicians in the world [Mark Callan (Scotland)].

“The Association hopes this event will make an impact on future development of curling in Kazakhstan and the Central Asia region.”

The Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2015 will run until Saturday 14 November. The Gold and Silver medal winning teams in the women’s and men’s events will qualify for the 2016 World Curling Championships [Men’s: Basel 2-10 April / Women’s: Swift Current 19-27 March], while the Bronze medal teams will earn direct entry into the Olympic Qualification Event in 2017.

For results, standings, news and pictures from the PACC 2015, visit: http://www.worldcurling.org/pacc2015