Last month, Scottish Curling announced a new selection process was to be put in place to decide who would attend the World champion events for men’s, women’s and mixed doubles’ disciplines. Assessments would be made in collaboration with British Curling, when previously the winner of the Scottish national event would automatically get to represent their country on the world stage.
But a curler from New Abbey Curling Club has thrown a spanner in the works and has called for members of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club (RCCC) to be able to have their say. Fraser Kingan, who has been a high level curler in recent years, has put forward a motion to the RCCC AGM to have the decision reversed, and such future decisions to be reserved for general meetings where members can give feedback.
Explaining his reasons, Fraser commented that he felt the membership was not consulted enough on the matter. Detailing the wider implications, he said: “In recent years the Scottish Championships have been struggling for entries, and I feel we need to be doing something to encourage entries rather than putting a selection policy in place which in turn will most likely deter people from entering the championships.
“In 2017 I won the Scottish Mixed Doubles Championships and earned the right to represent Scotland at the World Mixed Doubles Championship 2018. My team was far from being favourites for winning this and if the new selection policy had been in place then, I would have been denied the chance to represent Scotland at this championship. I have since continued to play mixed doubles, winning multiple World Curling Tour events, ranking in the top 20 on the tour, and being runner up in the Scottish Championships in 2018/19.
“In future I would consider whether or not to enter the national championships if the selection policy was to still be place. It is not clear from the selection policy what my team would need to do in order to be the selected team for the worlds, and I wouldn’t want to spend time, money and effort competing in the Scottish Championships only to be told that I hadn’t been chosen.” Fraser has received support from the curling community, and says he is very grateful for the messages of thanks for raising the motion.
On Tuesday, Olympic head coach David Murdoch, originally from Lockerbie, released a statement via British Curling encouraging members to support the selection process model. He said: “I want to urge all members to consider the best interests of curling in Scotland by voting against the motion. The move to selecting teams for the World Championships is purposeful to reduce the risk of funding and therefore opportunities for future generations of talented curlers being lost. My insight and head tells me change is necessary and vital for the future of our sport, despite my heart loving the traditions.”
Voting, which is reserved for RCCC members, closes on Thursday June 25 at 2 pm and the results will be released at the virtual RCCC AGM on Saturday June 27. Votes can be made www.rcccmembers.org