Perse pupil sweeps to victory at national curling championships
Lina Opel (Year 9) hit the ice to win the English Mixed Doubles curling title for the second year in a row.
She once again teamed up with her dad Michael as they retained their crown at the national championships in Preston.
They came second in their group but went on to beat the winners of the other pool 10-6 in the semi-finals before storming to a 12-1 victory over their opponents in the final.
Lina said: “It’s really good to have won it again. We were up against some good teams that we hadn’t played before because many of them weren’t at the competition last year.
“It was nice because my dad made a birthday wish a few weeks ago to win it, so he got what he wanted!”
Reward for their success is a place representing England at the World Mixed Doubles Championships qualifying tournament in Dumfries in December.
Lina and her dad, who train at Cambridge Ice Arena, took part in this year’s World Championships in Korea, but finished bottom of their group meaning they need to finish in the top four at the qualifiers to reach the 2024 edition in Sweden.
She said: “There are going to be 24 countries taking part in the qualifying competition, so it’s going to be very hard.
“I hope that we at least win a few games, but we’ve done a lot of hard work to get here and we’ll keep practising.”
Following the qualifiers, Lina will then head straight to Finland to join up with the England women’s team at the World Junior B World Championships.
The top three teams at this competition will make it through to the World Junior Championships, at the same venue in Lohja, in February.
Lina travels to Preston every other weekend to train with her team-mates, although the frequency of their sessions will increase nearer to the tournament.
She said: “We had some coaching from the England team coach David Ramsay, which was good. We met with him at a competition and he watched us play and gave us a lot of ideas and things to work on.
“We still need to figure out the order for the team because everyone has different aspects about their game.
“I feel I can play anywhere, but I’m a strong sweeper. I learned more about techniques from watching other players at the World Mixed Doubles and gained quite a lot of inspiration from them.
“At the Junior B Championships, I don’t expect us to come top, but I hope we can win a few games. It will just be nice to show how much our team as grown and we’re putting a lot of effort into trying to do well.”