Curling crochet queen Duff hoping to follow in Daley’s golden Olympic footsteps

0
14

Tom Daley’s knitting took Tokyo 2020 by storm – and curling’s crochet queen Hailey Duff is now hellbent on similarly stitching her name in British Olympic folklore.

Forfar ace Duff, 24, has been officially selected in Team GB’s five-strong women’s rink for Beijing 2022 after booking her place in a nerve-shredding qualifying event in the Netherlands.

Duff, skip Eve Muirhead, Vicky Wright, Jennifer Dodds and alternate Mili Smith will be the team tasked with bettering Britain’s Sochi 2014 bronze when they descend on the Chinese capital next month.

Diving star Daley, who won 10m synchro gold alongside Matty Lee in Japan last summer, went viral with his love of knitting away from the board and Olympic debutant Duff hopes her parallel passion can bring about similar success on the ice.

Asked if she can be Team GB’s Daley equivalent at Beijing 2022, Duff said: “Maybe – you never know!

“I crochet at home a little bit to calm myself down. I don’t take it away with me as much [as Tom] – but it’s just something I do at home by myself.

“It feels amazing to be selected. It’s always been a dream to compete at the Olympics and for Great Britain, so it’s such a big honour to have actually been selected as part of Team GB and to see what we can do out in Beijing.

“As soon as I started taking curling seriously, it’s always been something I really wanted to do. It’s always been such a big dream – for it to have actually happened feels quite crazy.

“I’m just super honoured to even be going to the Games.”

Team Muirhead were crowned European champions in Lillehammer at the end of last year before battling through a thrilling Dutch Olympic qualifier to book their place on the plane.

After losing their first two matches, the Scots reeled off five wins on the spin to catapult themselves into contention ahead of Turkey’s crunch clash with Japan.

Muirhead’s rink could hardly watch but after the Turks edged out an 8-5 victory, their place in Beijing was secure.

And Duff, one of over 1,000 athletes who are able to train full-time, access the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support thanks to vital National Lottery funding, said: “We’re a new team, but we’ve also got some well-known members.

“We’ve obviously got Eve, while Jen and Vicky have been playing for a couple of years as well. I think we should be good for Beijing if we just keep going the way we’re going.

“We’ve got a few little things to learn to make sure we’re on top of where we want to be – we need to keep ourselves safe, be sensible and look after ourselves.

“It will be quite a nervous moment but I’ll be super proud to be there. Pressure is something I don’t deal with too badly so hopefully I’ll be able to get into my flow of it and perform the same way I’ve been performing this season.”

Team GB have won just four Olympic curling medals in their history – but Team Muirhead’s bronze, coupled with men’s silver, in Sochi mean Britain travel to China with recent Games momentum.

They’ll now aim to add to the 1,000-plus medals achieved by British athletes since the advent of National Lottery funding to elite sport in 1997 and Duff added: “To come away with a medal would be absolutely amazing.

“I know the whole team will put our most into it to make sure we come away with one. It would be amazing to do it but I’m not putting too much pressure on myself to do that.”

No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise more than £30 million each week for good causes including grassroots and elite sport. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes



Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here