Kelowna team favourites at national vision impaired curling tourney

Dean Martell’s Kelowna Curling Club team will pursue its seventh consecutive Canadian Vision Impaired National Curling Championship next month in Ottawa.

Martell will be joined on the Team Canada rink by third Sandy Neddow, second Frank Costello, lead Bob Comba, on-ice guide Barb Hansen-Comba and coach George Meikle for the national event which will be held during White Cane Week, Feb. 6 to 12.

With a record of 49 wins and just four losses over the previous six seasons, the Kelowna curlers will once again be the favourites.

“Yeah, they’re all out to be the team to knock us off the top and someday our reign of being Team Canada will end but until that day comes we’ll continue to do our best,” said Bob Comba.

The week-long competition will showcase the abilities of many of the nation’s best blind and visually impaired curlers from coast to coast with dreams some day of competing in the Paralympics as a full medal sport.

“We’re working on it,” said Comba. “We’re trying to get the word out as we had hoped blind curling would at least be a demonstration sport at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics but fell short of that goal. It takes time and a lot of support to get three continents with eight countries involved but now shoot for 2014 in Russia. As we all know Canada leads all countries with people who participate at curling clubs coast to coast with all ages and abilities.

“We had hoped to have teams from Scotland and the U.S.A. at this year’s competition and make it more of an international event,” added Comba,”but when checking the schedule it doesn’t look like they are able to make it this year.”

The Kelowna team has been recognized for its accomplishments by Curl B.C. and was awarded the Provincial Curling Team of the Year for 2010 in British Columbia.

For more information on White Cane Week, visit the website

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