The 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games CURLING event has secured 28 hours of live daytime television coverage from Aug 25 through Aug 29, which is an unprecedented amount of TV exposure for a ‘minor’ sport that is enjoying a bit of a growth spurt in New Zealand. SKY Sport 3 will cover the curling, as part of its Winter Games NZ package.

Eight men’s teams and five women’s teams, (including the current world champions from China), will participate in the curling event at the inaugural 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games. Hans Frauenlob, 2006 NZ Olympic curling team member, is SKY’s expert curling commentator, and says “its a great chance for New Zealanders to see our Kiwi curlers in action against some of the best curlers in the world, including the Chinese womens and mens teams, both reigning Pacific champs, who will compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics”.

Hans goes on to say, “most games are at 9 am, 1 pm, and 5 pm Tues through Sat, but check the Sky Sports website for exact times”.

To check the complete SKY Sport coverage of Winter Games NZ, including curling game times, check www.skysport.co.nz

The Chinese women’s curling team are current World Champions following their victory at the 2009 World Curling Championships in Korea. Their closest rivals are the Japanese, and both China and Japan women have qualified for the 2010 Olympics. Other womens teams competing are Korea, and Australia, and New Zealand. Bridget Becker will skip the New Zealand Women’s squad which also includes Brydie Donald, Rissy Jones and Linda Geary.

The men’s competition features top teams from Australia, Canada, China, Korea, Japan, Czech Republic, USA and host New Zealand. The New Zealand team is lead by Dunedin’s Dan Mustapic, who competed at world champs in 2001, 2004, 2005, and was a member of the New Zealand Olympic team in 2006. He is joined by fellow Olympian Warren Dobson (Mt Ida) along with Scott Becker, Warren Kearney and Kris Miller all of Ranfurly.

The curling competition starts on Sunday 23 August at the Maniototo Curling International indoor rink in Naseby, with Gold medal finals on Saturday 29 August.

Peter Becker, NZ Curling Association Secretary, is excited about what 28 hours of national TV exposure will do for the growth of this Winter Olympic sport in New Zealand.

“During the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics, we got some TV time for curling that gave our sport some exposure, but the 28 hours of TV CURLING coverage on SKY is just a huge opportunity for the rest of NZ to see some of the world’s best curlers in action here in NZ, and hopefully this will inspire young Kiwis to take up curling as their way of getting to compete for NZ at the Olympics in the future”. He goes on to say, “the NZ Curling Association encourages all people who are keen to take up curling as ‘their sport’, or just want to have a go at curling, to click onto the NZCA website, www.curling.org.nz to find out how they can get out on the ice themselves, and ‘throw some stones’, just like they’ll see on TV next week”. “Curling clubs in Auckland, Dunedin and here in Naseby will have the welcome mat out to aspiring curlers of all ages, so come and try the coolest Winter Olympic sport.”

NZ Skip Enthusiastic

NZ Men’s Skip Dan Mustapic of Dunedin says “The calibre of the curlers in the 100% Pure NZ Games will probably be the highest we’ve ever seen in this country. This is a great chance for us to showcase what we have in New Zealand, both curling facilities and curlers” he continued. “I’m confident that our young guys have what it takes to compete well. And we hope to use this event as a springboard to success at the upcoming Pacific Curling Champs in Japan in November, and hopefully qualify for the next World Champs ourselves”.

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