Australian mixed curling pair Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt have made history, and will each become the first athletes to represent the country in the sport at the Winter Olympic Games, having qualified for Beijing 2022 overnight.
Following the pair’s triumph in the Netherlands in the Olympic Qualifier Event where a 6-5 victory against Korea secured their spot, it has begun a new chapter for the sport in Australia.
Australian Olympic Committee Executive Officer Matt Carroll commended the duo on the achievement.
“The AOC congratulates the Australian Curling Federation on having their first athletes qualify to represent Australia at the Winter Olympics,” Carroll said.
“This wasn’t an easy path, but Tahli and Dean have shown outstanding form in this qualifying event with an unbeaten run. Their last match went down to the wire but they got there.
“The beauty of the Olympic Games is there is a sport for everyone and now we will see young Australians on the world stage in February in a sport many Australians will watch for the first time.
“While formal selection in the Australian Olympic Team is yet to come, securing this quota spot for Beijing is a great moment. You have to be excited for the sport of curling in Australia today.”
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Australian Curling Federation President Kim Forge celebrated the athletes’ success, reflecting on the build-up towards such a moment and the many years of hard work to make it to this point.
“This has come from years of grit and determination – and importantly, a plan,” Forge told.
“Their coach John Morris is a reigning Olympic champion from Canada. They have come into the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia program with additional support from the AIS, Queensland Academy of Sports and the Victorian Institute of Sport.
“Each has a family history in the sport. They have had their successes and setbacks along the way, but playing for a bronze medal against the United States at the 2019 World Cup created this momentum. Dean and Tahli have attended every event, every camp to advance their situation.
“In truth, we were thinking the next Olympic cycle, but this is a Christmas present come early. There were 65 countries competing for 10 spots in Beijing. We are very proud of them both.”
The Olympic Qualifying Event for curling has been underway in Leeuwarden, Netherlands since December 5 with Australia competing in just the mixed doubles event.
Australia won each of its seven matches of the tournament which began with a 7-3 win over Turkey and continued with wins against Germany (8-1), Demark (8-7), Russia (8-6), Hungary (7-6), Spain (9-6) and finally, Korea (6-5).
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