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Neighbour sweeps up B.C. wheelchair curling title
Richmond’s Darryl Neighbour is on the hunt for a spot in the national team as he heads to Montreal for the 2014 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championships.
His team of wheelchair curlers – including veteran third Frank LaBounty (Prince George) second Vince Miele (Richmond) and lead Alison Duddy (Quesnel) — triumphed over Team Austgarden and Team MacDonald on the weekend to win the B.C. title and the chance to play at nationals.
The 2014 BC Wheelchair Curling Championships took place at Coquitlam Curling Centre from Jan. 24-26.
Neighbour is back playing competitive curling after a year away from the sport due to health concerns. He contracted a blood infection while at the worlds in Korea in February 2012, putting his curling career on hold.
Neighbour, a gold medallist at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics, said he was looking forward to playing against the other provinces.
“I’m really looking forward to it – hopefully it will be a way back. I’d like to be on the national team again,” he said.
Neighbour will need to be selected by the Canadian Curling Association in order to get back on the national team. The Canadian team is not the winning team from nationals, but is instead selected from among the competitive wheelchair curlers across the nation. This year the Paralympic team is made up of Neighbour’s old teammates from Vancouver, Jim Armstrong, Ina Forrest and Sonja Gaudet, as well as first-time Paralympians Dennis Thiessen and Mark Ideson.
At 65 years old, Neighbour believes he still has a contribution to make to the national team.
“One of the players from the Japanese team was 75 when he played at worlds so I have a ways to go yet. I feel good and I have got over this nightmare,” he said.
Gary Cormack, the skip who represented BC at nationals last year, taking home the silver medal, will be the team’s alternate in Montreal.
Neighbour said the championship in Coquitlam was a great experience for all involved. “It was a pleasure to be there and the whole team enjoyed it very much. The facility was fantastic and all the volunteers were great,” he said.
The 2014 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship takes place in Montreal, Quebec, from April 28-May 4.