Over the years, I've built up something of an archive of curling photographs. This comes in quite handy when I'm looking for a pic to accompany a post. Such was the case yesterday when I heard the news that Michael McCreadie had decided to wheel away from the World Class Performance Squad. The Wheelchair Curling Blog has the story here.
Michael's record in the sport is impressive. He has four medals from World Championships, two golds and two bronzes, and a Paralympic silver from 2006. He took a year away from top competition last season, but was back in the Performance Squad this year. But he says, "Since the summer, although playing reasonably well and achieving some good results in international competitions, my heart wasn't in it any more. The enjoyment had gone. It was not an easy decision to make, I had to do what was best for me and ultimately the squad." He adds, "I wish the coach and the squad every success in the future."
Tony Zummack, the national coach, is sure that Michael still has a lot to give to wheelchair curling. I hope so. And not just to wheelchair curling! The photo above shows the measure of the guy. He was one of the first to volunteer to represent Scotland at the Four Nations last season, when our governing body was unable to raise a team and planned to withdraw. He travelled at his own expense to Fenton's Rink in Kent to compete with the ABs and was in the winning side in the Tom Ballantyne Trophy. You can see him accepting the trophy in this post. I note he is to skip one of the men's teams in this season's Four Nations at Greenacres, January 21-22.
Michael, I know all about 'running out of steam' after being involved with something so intensely for years. Suddenly the enjoyment just goes, and you know then it's time to change. Best wishes to you for the future. I look forward to seeing you around the rinks!
So, where does that leave the World Class Performance Squad? The selection of five curlers from the seven remaining in the squad for the World Wheelchair Curling Championships is due to take place on January 5, although the panel's decision will not be made public until later in the month. The procedures are all laid out in the document entitled 'Selection Process for the Scottish Wheelchair Curling Team for the World Wheelchair Curling Championship' which can be downloaded from this page. The championship will be held in the Uiam Ice Rink, Chuncheon City, Gangwon Province, South Korea, February 18-25, 2012.
Top photo, from the Four Nations at Fentons 2011, is © Skip Cottage