Funding key for world champs

By TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER — Peter Smith remembers what it was like back in the beginning.

“In 1988 in Calgary, when curling was first a demonstration sport, there was no funding and no preparation. We didn’t even know Calgary was 3,000 feet above sea level.”

He’s 46 now, playing second for David Murdoch’s world championship team.

And it’s a whole new game.

“We’ve had about one-million pounds funding from U.K. Sports lottery money alone,” said Murdoch of the support the team has had en route to Vancouver 2010.

There’s also been 700,000 pounds funding from Sport Scotland over the four years for salaries, travel, full-time coaching, full-time athletic training facilities, strength and conditioning, video, nutrition, sports pyschologists, etc.

“Without the funding we’ve been given, there is no chance we’d be world champions,” said the native of Lockerbie, Scotland. “It’s been a full-time program.

“You have to curl every week in order to beat these guys,” he added of competing in international events, including some of the Canadian stops on the World Curling Tour in Canada.

Murdoch beat Canada’s Kevin Martin the last four times he met him, including three times at last year’s Worlds.

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca

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