Europe’s top curling teams sweep into Perth

© DC Thomson
Curling action from a previous Mercure City of Perth Masters.

Elite sportsmen from across the globe will sweep into Perth this week for a major international curling contest.

The Mercure City of Perth Masters is seen as the number one men’s curling event in Europe and will be used by several teams as preparation for the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

The games, which begin their four-day run on Thursday, feature squads from as far afield as Canada, Japan, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland.

Team GB, which won silver as the recent European Curling Championships, will be taking part, as will the Swedish team which scored gold.

The games are seen as a major economic boost for the Fair City.

Event chairman Pete Loudon said: “We continue to attract the very best teams from across the globe to Dewars Centre and this year seven teams will use the Masters as a preparation event for the 2018 Winter Olympics in February.

“You can see from the 32 team draw we have elite curlers from many countries all ready to do battle on top class curling ice.”

Perth and Kinross Provost Dennis Melloy said the games will benefit the city.

“It is exciting to have seven of the 10 teams which are going to the Winter Olympics, including our own local Team GB boys,” he said.

“The Mercure City of Perth Masters is usually the first sporting event of the year and with the extremely large delegation of overseas competitors and supporters travelling here to Perth, gives this year’s event a truly international flavour.”

Mr Melloy added: “Curling has always been a traditional Scottish winter sport and continues to be popular all over the world, but the one thing that I have always admired about curlers is their ethic of sportsmanship and the friendships that are made by curlers from all over the world, friendships that last a lifetime.”

Gabriella Maltesics, general manager at title sponsors the Mercure Perth Hotel, wished a warm welcomed to all teams. “The last few years’ finals have given us breathtaking closing moments which kept both the teams’ and spectators’ interest to the last stone.” she said.

“I am sure the game will once again by played in the right spirit, excellent sportsmanship and outstanding curling skills.”