ErzurumBlog – Rockin’ the house in Turkey … sort of!

Another Blog by Kelly Lapointe who, with Syd Brown, recently represented Sports Media Canada for an inspection of facilities to be used at the XXV FISU Winter Universiade at Erzurum, Turkey from January 27 to February 6.

ERZURUM, TURKEY  – As the AIPS delegates actually put on sliders and grippers and threw rocks, the 1,000-spectator curling arena was probably the most loved visit of our group.

Curling Stones Ready for Action

Built in October 2010, it’s actually a 58-metre by 31-metre multi-purpose ice rink that has been turned into a five-sheet curling field located in the Medidiye Mahallesi district on Topdagi Caddesi.

I was the first media member to don the slider and gripper and I clumsily demonstrated the basics of throwing the rock. Though I curl in the ladies’ league in Fort St. John, B.C., I’m not even close to being a great curler. But I’m marginally better than someone who has never played the sport before.

Kelly (right) shows a colleague how to deliver a stone

I taught Murat Agca with the tour committee and then Andrea Giannini, the Italian AIPS journalist/videographer. Pretty soon all five sheets were filled with an international array of sports journalists throwing rocks through fits of giggles.

None of us felt adventurous or athletic enough to actually sweep the rocks into their proper positions into the house at the other end of the ice. They effectively set up guards well out in front of the hog line.

I’m sure the maintenance staff was none too impressed as we left the facility, with all our red and yellow rocks still dotting the sheets.

The arena houses a training room, four locker rooms, a first-aid station, a drug-control room, four locker rooms for referees and coaches and VIP and press lounges. Telephone and wireless Internet connections are available in each room.

In addition to the 1,000-spectator seating, there are 119 VIP seats and 37 for press members.

As is with many of the sports at these Games, the organizers hope curling will grow in popularity after locals see the event. The Turkish Curling Championships were the beginning of that as they were held a few weeks before the tour.

The Universiade curling competition will run from January 28 to February 5. I know the 10 men’s and 11 women’s teams will do their countries much prouder than the international sports journalists did during our fun try on the sheets!