Winter Games NZ today announced that seven out of the eight curling nations invited to take part in the inaugural Winter Games NZ (WGNZ) from 22-30 August 2009 have confirmed their entries.
Canada, USA, Japan, China, Korea, Australia and New Zealand will each send two teams to one of Australasia’s most renowned indoor curling rinks, Maniototo International in Naseby at the heart of Central Otago in New Zealand’s South Island. The week-long competition will run from 23-29 August with the finals watched by several hundred spectators from a custom-built grandstand inside the curling rink.
“Having such strong support from the first invitations to go out is hugely encouraging and bodes well for the other disciplines,” said WGNZ CEO Arthur Klap. “The beauty of Winter Games NZ is that not only do we feature all the snowboard and free ski events but also an extensive programme in alpine ski racing, cross country skiing and ice sports. Combine such a schedule with the opportunity to train in winter conditions six months out from the Winter Olympics, and it becomes a very attractive event for the world’s elite winter sportsmen and women.”
Curling organizing chairman for WGNZ, Peter Becker, said, “All the curling teams attending are of a very high quality, providing the most skilled and exciting games ever seen in New Zealand. Some of the teams competing will go on to represent their countries at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada. Unfortunately the New Zealand curling teams have not qualified for the Vancouver Olympics, but to play in an international tournament against teams of this calibre, on our 'home' ice, can do nothing but good for our players' chances at future Pacific zone and world tournaments."
For further information on WGNZ, visit www.wintergamesnz.com