The World Curling Academy partnership between the World Curling Federation and the World Academy of Sport aims to provide education and certification to develop and grow curling locally and globally.
Recently, the Academy has certainly been living up to the global part of its mission, with a number of courses held in Korea, around the time of the World Mixed Doubles and Senior Championships, staged in Gangneung’s Olympic Park.
Now, the Academy has travelled even further, putting on two courses in the world’s most geographically isolated city – Perth in Western Australia.
The Cockburn Ice Arena is located in the southern suburbs of Perth and is home to Curling Western Australia. It was the venue for two courses: the “Technical Coach Level 1” course, presented by World Curling Federation Development Officer Karri Willms and the “Game Umpire” course, led by experienced umpire Bob Bomas.
Held over two days, both courses involved a combination of classroom seminars, discussions and practical sessions on the ice, and concluded with an informal graduation ceremony for the participants.
This was a second attempt to run these courses in Perth, with the previous timetable having been disrupted by COVID issues.
They are also the latest in a long line of events organised by the enthusiastic Curling Western Australia community, which runs several curling leagues, familiarisation sessions, beginners’ instructions and numerous curler development programmes.
Like the club itself, the candidates involved came from a variety of experiences and backgrounds – newcomers to the sport and experienced players from elsewhere who have moved to Perth and discovered the club for themselves.
The nationalities among the course participants were Canadian, English and Scottish, with even the occasional Australian in there too. Some were relative beginners, but they also included Adrienne Kennedy, who had just returned from playing for Australia in the World Senior Championships.
Elliott Douglas, originally from Scotland, was one of the founders of the club, as well as now being the Western Australia representative on the Australian Curling Federation Executive Committee.
He confirmed that the club, now recovering from severe COVID lockdown arrangements, is now up to about 70 active members, making it the second-biggest curling community in Australia, behind Victoria in the east.
The Cockburn Ice Arena – a thriving home for ice-skating and ice-hockey as well as curling, opened in 2015 – is wheelchair-accessible, so not surprisingly, there are plans to develop wheelchair curling, with three potential players already involved.
The club has also made great progress in governance. In fact, it is in shape to become grant-eligible through the local government’s sports development funds, meaning the course fees for the participants were heavily subsidised.
The next competition target for Curling Western Australia is participation in the Australian National Championships in June, which, at the moment, have to be staged in Naseby, on New Zealand’s South Island, not the easiest of venues to reach from Western Australia.
Curling Western Australia is also hopeful that three junior members will be selected for the Australian women’s team that will contest the World Junior-B Championships next season.
Elliott also explained that some twenty club members had been involved in a recent strategic planning session to outline target progress for the next three years, with the main item being a push to develop a dedicated curling facility in Western Australia.
For more information about educational opportunities, visit the World Curling Academy website and the World Academy of Sport website.
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