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Sporting ambitions put on ice

31 May 2011

Sporting ambitions put on ice Image

By Chan Khai Ling

It’s not your usual school sport, but a group of Roxburgh College students visit Docklands’ Icehouse every fortnight to practise curling.

And, apart from the sheer fun of it, they have a good chance to represent Australia next year.

Teacher Frederic Legrand, who has coached junior men and women curling teams at worldwide junior curling championships, first introduced the sport to students at his former school in Frankston.

He received such a good response that he decided to do the same with his students at Roxburgh College in Melbourne’s north, putting together a curling program with the support of the principal.

“I wanted to give students an opportunity to try a new sport. They’ve just taken to the sport like fish to water,” he said.

Curling is a winter sport thought to have originated from medieval Scotland, in which two teams of four compete by sliding rocks across ice as close as possible towards the centre of a target area.

“The easiest way to think of it is like lawn bowls on ice,” Mr Legrand said.

He said curling was a sport that was much more difficult than it looked, requiring players to develop practical skills such as balancing and learning to “read the ice”, but also encouraged teamwork and dedication.

Every two weeks, Mr Legrand brings a group of 20-30 students down to the Medibank Icehouse to hone their skills and compete against each other.

He said that the enthusiasm of the students built every time they visited Docklands, and they were spreading interest amongst their peers by word of mouth.

Many of his students have developed a genuine passion for curling, and aim to represent Australia at the Pacific Junior Curling Championships next January.

“Some have come every single time we go, which shows real dedication. For them the ultimate goal would be to get picked for the nationals,” Mr Legrand said.

Mr Legrand encouraged those who were interested to also train on Monday nights.

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