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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Friday, 22 February, 2002, 01:53 GMT
Sweeping praise for curling team
Martin family
The Martin family watch as Team GB head for glory
The Great Britain curling team have been hailed as heroines after their historic gold medal victory at the Winter Olympics.

The all-Scots team, led by skipper Rhona Martin, defeated Switzerland in a nail-biting final, securing Great Britain's first Winter Games gold medals since Torvill and Dean in 1984.

The five women in the squad have been showered with praise for their efforts.

Team GB
The team celebrate after their success
Scotland's First Minister, Jack McConnell, said: "This is a fantastic achievement for Scotland.

"Curling is a popular Scottish sport and these women have filled us all with pride."

Scottish National Party Leader, John Swinney, said: "I congratulate the curling team on their success and I'm sure that everyone in the country will be delighted that they have struck gold at the Winter Olympics.

"They have been great ambassadors for the sport of curling and for their home country."

British Curling Association chairman, Bob Kelly, said the victory would prove a major boost for the sport.

'Lot of interest'

He said: "I have no doubt the success of the British team will provide greater interest in the sport.

"We have had a lot of interest and there have also been a lot of people in England who have rung up asking where they can play."

The skipper's husband Keith, nine-year-old daughter Jennifer and son Andrew, aged six, watched anxiously as the drama unfolded at their home in Dunlop, in Ayrshire.

John Stevenson, who helped train Rhona Martin at the Greenacres Club, said he was delighted to see his protege succeed at the world level.

Woman watches final
A fan is caught up in the excitement
He said: "Rhona came down here with her brother Drew and he introduced her to the curling world.

"When I set up the club I'd hoped we would have been able to win the Scottish, I never thought we could get to this level."

Malcolm Richardson, a past president of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club that governs the sport in Scotland, said that the win would be a massive boost for the sport across the country.

He said: "Apart from the fact that we are going to hold the party to end all parties it will do us a tremendous amount of good work."

Scotland's Deputy Sports Minister, Elaine Murray, said the team had done themselves, Scotland and Great Britain proud.

She said: "Very few sports people achieve the honour of being selected to represent their country as Olympians.

"Our curlers have earned their place in Olympic and Scottish sporting history."

See also:

21 Feb 02 | Curling
Golden glory for Britain's curlers
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