Cool Runnings 2.0? Jamaica enters worldwide curling

Glide, Jamaican bobs. A gaggle of expats from the ice-free island hope to deliver an entire new winter sport to their tropical homeland: curling.

Three a long time after Jamaica crashed on the Winter Olympics – after which crashed on the Winter Olympics – with the bobsleigh workforce made well-known within the film “Cool Runnings,” the nation joined the World Curling Federation. The standing permits him to compete in worldwide occasions, and the brand new nationwide governing physique hopes formal recognition will assist the game break into a spot higher identified for sprinters, reggae and rum.

“The bobsleigh workforce broke the ice – pardon the pun,” Curling Jamaica president Ben Kong mentioned in a latest interview with The Related Press. “Now there’s a type of acceptance that Jamaicans can compete in any sport, even when it’s a winter sport.”

Born on the Scottish lochs and hottest with Scandinavians, Scots and Canadians, curling is using a post-Olympic increase from viewers who fall in love each 4 years with this quirky sport with overwhelming, screaming, chess-like technique. Currently, this has introduced the game to some new, non-white nations.

For the reason that Pyeongchang Video games in 2018, the WCF has acknowledged federations within the Dominican Republic, Kenya, Bolivia, Turkmenistan, India and Kuwait. Jamaica is the primary to affix because the Beijing Olympics, incomes conditional standing final month because the third member of the Caribbean.

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WCF President Kate Caithness known as it “an thrilling milestone for the game as we proceed to extend our membership in non-traditional curling nations.”

Jamaica curling technical director Cristiene Corridor-Teravainen, who moved to Winnipeg when she was 6, mentioned after beginning curling in Canada she noticed precisely one other black individual in competitions: a Russian.

“Now with these different nations, with the WCF, I feel they’re doing an important job of being inclusive and selling sport world wide,” he mentioned. “Africa, India – the place there are minorities who apply this sport and adore it – I feel it would construct, construct and construct. I see nice issues sooner or later.”

Kong, 46, moved to Canada as a toddler however solely began curling a decade in the past. “Then got here the loopy dream of ‘Why do not we put collectively a Jamaican curling workforce?’ ‘He mentioned.

Loopy, aside from one factor: the Caribbean island the place ice in drinks often goes despatched a bobsleigh workforce to the 1988 Olympics, a fish out of water story advised within the 1993 Disney film “Cool Runnings”.

It was the debut of the nation’s Winter Video games and since then Jamaicans have competed in all Olympics besides Turin in 2006. In Beijing, Benjamin Alexander competed within the big slalom, one other first.

‘They paved the best way’

In the future, possibly even curling.

“They paved the best way for Jamaica. It was enormous what the bobsleigh workforce did,” mentioned Corridor-Teravainen. “I do not assume we’re using their flaps, however we’re marching proper behind them.”

In all, Kong discovered 9 ladies and 5 males, 12 of whom dwell in Canada and two in the USA. Most have twin citizenship.

Three of the ladies have aggressive expertise; Corridor-Teravainen is essentially the most expert of them, having as soon as competed in Canada’s senior provincial championships. He thinks he’s the anchor of a Jamaican workforce hoping to compete within the Blended World Championships in Aberdeen, Scotland in October.

Of the 5 males, just one performed competitively. “Our males’s workforce, even when we’ve got sufficient sizzling our bodies, that workforce wants some growth,” Kong mentioned.

Jamaican curling common secretary Andrew Walker, a leisure roller who as soon as received the Monday night time residence championship at his residence membership, mentioned discovering extra Jamaican curlers was “a lightweight bulb second” for him.

Now he sees a sparkle within the eyes of different Jamaicans as they watch him curl.

“A younger girl got here as much as me and mentioned, ‘You recognize, I wasn’t going to come back, however then I noticed you and I believed,’ Hey, I can do it too, ‘” she mentioned. “She Offers individuals permission to exit and provides it a strive. They’ll see somebody like them.

“Since he is by no means been there of their outdated nation, they are not on the lookout for him. They will be on the lookout for soccer and cricket and whatnot, however curling is not on the radar,” he mentioned. “So hopefully this places him extra on the radar.”

And he hopes the WCF recognition will assist unfold the phrase.

“There are Jamaicans in each nation on the planet. I am fairly certain there are hair curlers like me – and higher than me, within the Jamaican diaspora,” Walker mentioned. “This is step one in letting them know we’re out right here and need to hear from you.”

Primarily based simply exterior of Toronto

For now, the dozen Canadian-based Jamaicans have established a base on the Unionville Curling Membership exterior Toronto which, at greater than 100 years outdated, is twice the scale of the unbiased nation of Jamaica.

Their debut competitors was a pleasant scrum in opposition to Hong Kong in April, restricted to groups of three attributable to pandemic protocols; Hong Kong was main 10-4 after 4 finals when the groups determined that holding the rating was not the purpose.

Corridor-Teravainen famous that it isn’t unusual for even established curling applications to coach abroad, the place coaches and ice sheets are plentiful and competitors is strong.

“Even nations which have ice come right here to coach,” he mentioned. “Jamaica has a hockey workforce that performs exterior of Florida.”

Kong mentioned the objective is to construct a program the place curling is performed “in Jamaica, by Jamaicans”.

What if Disney got here to name with a film deal?

“I am nonetheless desirous about which actor I need to play for me,” he mentioned.

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