Kingston-Kosovar curlers winless in first world championship

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The Kosovo team of Kingston native Peter Andersen and his Kosovar partner, Eldena Daka, went winless in seven games at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship held in Stavanger, Norway, late last month.

Andersen, a graduate of Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute, St. Lawrence College and Dalhousie University in Halifax, moved to Kosovo to pursue a tech internship. He was able to compete in the world championship because he has been a resident of the country for more than two years.

The Kosovo team of Kingston native Peter Andersen and his Kosovar partner, Eldena Daka, competed at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship, April 20-27, in Stavanger, Norway. (Supplied Photo) Submitted / Submitted Photo

“We had our opportunities,” Andersen wrote in an email to the Whig-Standard on Thursday. “A few more made shots here and there and I think we could have finished the week with a couple more wins.”

He said he had his curling mechanics down but was inconsistent in his play at times.

“It was a little difficult for me because there were shots I would have made before (when I was playing four times a week) but couldn’t always when I needed to in Stavanger,” he said.

A challenge going into the event, he said, was that Daka was a curling beginner and Kosovo doesn’t have a curling rink in the country. The pair had to travel to other European countries to practise.

“The teams we were playing against in our pool had regular access to ice (Team Russia, for example, trains at the Sochi Olympic Stadium and had been travelling to competitions warming up for the world championship months before), so the odds were a little stacked against us,” Anderson said. “I also suffered a shoulder injury midway through Game 5. I ended up tearing the tendon in between my bicep and shoulder.”

It was also his first competitive event in three years.

The team’s closest loss was 7-6 against Spain, which went 6-1 overall.

“We won five of the eight ends we played against them and the game came down to the last rock,” he wrote. “Spain needed to draw the four-foot to win and they put it on the button. We were proud with how we played and that we forced them to make their last shot and put some pressure on them.”

Andersen said the team had a lot of support from people in Canada, as well as Kosovo and the global curling community that was there in Stavanger.

“From a development perspective, we gained exactly what we were hoping for,” he said. “Through the event we gained a lot of exposure for the development of curling in Kosovo. A lot more people now know about curling in Kosovo thanks to the national media coverage we received.

“Overall it was the best 10 days of my life. Similar to the way I felt curling at university nationals, but the stage was bigger and it was amazing to meet people from the global curling community. Curling on the world stage was a dream come true, everything I had ever thought it would be and more.”

He would have liked to have recorded at least one win but was satisfied with the performance. “We otherwise accomplished the goals we had set as a rookie team at our first worlds,” he said.

In the final, Sweden defeated Canada’s Jocelyn Peterman and Brett Gallant, 6-5.

Forty-eight nations took part in the championship, with Kosovo, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine making their debuts.