When it comes to curling Scotland has enjoyed more than a brush with success.
In 2002, Scots skip Rhona Martin and her team returned home to a heroes’ welcome after winning a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
And 12 years later there was further cause for celebration when blue-eyed scots ice queen Eve Muirhead and her fellow Winter Olympians scooped a bronze medal in Sochi.
So it seems quite fitting that this year’s Le Gruyère European Curling Championships will take place on Scottish soil…or ice, rather.
Top curling talent from more than 25 nations will sweep into Renfrewshire on November 19 for the eight-day competition at the intu Braehead Arena.
Normally home to ice hockey heroes, Braehead Clan, the arena will be transformed into a five -sheet curling rink for the event, which forms part of EventScotland’s International Events Programme.
The competition will crown the European champions in curling for both men and women and determine qualification for the world Curling Championships in 2017, forming the pathway to Olympic qualification and the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Susan Murrin, Event Manager for the 2016 European Curling Championships said: “We can’t wait to bring the European Curling Championships to this venue, which has a great reputation for spectator ice sports. Braehead Clan are renowned for their passionate following and exciting displays – and curling is no different with its intense competition and precision play.
“We’re looking forward to staging an event to remember and hope that everyone will enjoy a week of top flight sporting action.”
Scotland’s representatives for the 2016 championships will be decided in October when its elite curlers including former European Champions and Olympic medallists Eve Muirhead and David Murdoch will battle it out for the right to be named in Team Scotland.
Gareth Chalmers, hockey and operations director at Braehead Clan, added: “We have regular sellout crowds for our home games and the atmosphere in the arena is always electric. We’re sure that sports fans will enjoy watching the curling action up close.”
The European Curling Championships also form part of UK Sport’s Major Event Programme and is supported by funding partners Renfrewshire Council, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau and The Royal Caledonian Curling Club.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s director of events, said: “The European Championships will see the finest players from across the continent and some of the world’s highest ranked nations visit Scotland in November, providing a fantastic spectacle for fans at the arena.
“We are delighted to support the event through EventScotland’s International Funding Programme and, following the success of both our male and female teams in recent years, we are confident there will be strong interest in tickets across the country for what promises to be a thrilling week of action on the ice.”
The 2016 European Curling Championships is one of a series of prestigious events being held in Scotland over the next four years. It will be followed by the World Junior Curling Championships at Curl Aberdeen in 2018, the World Wheelchair Curling Championship at The Peak in Stirling in 2019, and the World Men’s Curling Championship at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow in 2020.
Tickets to the Braehead event start from £10 per session and are available from Ticketmaster or the Braehead Arena box office.