First steps toward Oly singles

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

Olympic singles curling could become a reality sooner than you think.

And, as The Sun previously reported, that discipline could be added as soon as 2010 in Vancouver.

The World Curling Federation reportedly passed a motion to propose to the IOC the introduction of an individual skills competition for the Olympic Games at meetings in Sophia, Bulgaria. The WCF then announced that it will add an individual curling competition to both the 2006 men's and women's world championships.

"That's good news," a surprised Warren Hansen, Canadian Curling Association manager of event operations, said yesterday. "It's a good move. It will be good for curling. It's something that was badly needed."

Should the IOC accept the proposal, more Olympic medals would then be available for curlers. Competitors at both the men's and women's national championships have been playing Hot Shots for years and a singles competition was added to the Continental Cup.

The CCA will now look at starting a Canadian singles championship which, of course, would also mean the addition of a provincial one.

"We'll wait for the CCA to set it up and advise us as to what they are looking for," Manitoba Curling Association executive director Ian Staniloff said. "But I imagine that will be the natural extension. They are obviously looking for Olympic status, then they're going to have to start with competitors some place."

BITERS: Steinbach city council has apparently approved a bid to host the 2006 Safeway Select and the curling club is expected to submit an official bid to the MCA within the next two weeks. And the MCA can't wait.

"It's a great site," Staniloff said, adding that the town has two hockey arenas it can use ... The Manitoba wheelchair team that recently competed at the Canadian championship has accepted an invitation to compete in the International Invitational Bonspiel in London, Ont., this week.


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