Perse pupil shows quality on curling rink

Lina Opel (Year 7) has been sliding her way to success on the curling rink this season.

She got into the winter sport thanks to her Dad Michael, who represented England at the top tier European Championships in 2019.

Lina said: “I used to go along with my Dad when I was younger and sit on one of the stones and he’d push me down the ice!

“Curling is quite unusual in England, but it’s a great sport to play and I really like watching other people enjoy playing it. I’d love to see other pupils at school have a go.”

Having been bitten by the curling bug as a result of those early trips to the rink, Lina began partnering her Dad in mixed doubles competitions and they earned an impressive bronze at the English Championships in January.

Lina, who trains with Cambridge Curling at Cambridge Ice Arena, said: “That was the biggest competition I’ve played in. We played against some really good teams, so it was good to finish third.”

She also claimed silver in the English Junior Championships last month with her team, featuring skip Helena Kiggell, Anna MacDougall and Marianna Ward, by winning two of their four matches.

This was a particularly notable feat as her colleagues live all over the country, so they often only get to practise as a full team during school holidays.

Lina said: “In the team, I play at second, which means I’ll generally do more hits, and then I’ll sweep for my team-mates. The skip just tells you where to put the broom and doing different movements will make the stone go straight or go faster.”

“I was pretty pleased with how we did at the national junior championships because it was our first competition as a team and the experience was great.

“Our coach is Anna Fowler, who has played mixed doubles for England at the World Championships. She’s a really good coach and has helped make me a better player.”


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