Published: 04/03/2014 12:09 - Updated: 04/03/2014 15:40

Moray curler overjoyed with Paralympics call-up

Written byCraig Christie

A second Moray wheelchair curler has been called up to the GB team to compete in the Winter Paralympics in Sochi.

Lossiemouth man Jim Gault (59) landed a dream opportunity to join close friend Gregor Ewan, from Elgin, in the British team when selected player Tom Killen was forced to pull out due to ill health.

It led to a whirlwind few hours for Gault, who was transported down to Stirling for a squad meet on Friday before joining the GB team jetting out to Russia on Monday.

Both Gregor and Jim have played together for Moray before being chosen to curl for Scotland and Britain in national and world championships.

Gregor spoke about what it means to represent his country in a video (below) produced by Sportsbeat on behalf of the British Paralympic Association.

Gault has travelled the word to play his sport but the chance to compete in the Paralympics tops it all.

"This is the pinnacle. I’m absolutely gutted for Tom but I’ve got a job to do, and I just feel honoured to be called up," Jim said.

"It’s fantastic to be joining my mate Gregor. For a wee place like this to have two players in the British team at the Paralympics is just amazing."

Last month’s Winter Olympics helped to boost the profile of curling as a sport in Britain. Both the men’s and ladies’ teams were monopolised by Scots, just as the wheelchair curling team is.

David Murdoch led GB to a men’s silver while Eve Muirhead’s ladies’ rink won bronze, meaning both Gregor and Jim have a hard act to follow.

But they would love to complete a British hat-trick of curling medals by going the full distance in the competition.

"We’re going to be in the limelight even more than before because of the teams’ successes in the Winter Olympics," said Jim. "I just hope we can come back with a medal and follow the able-bodied guys.

"Our target is to get to the last four and we’ll take it from there."

The Moray pair are first in action on Saturday when Britain takes on Canada in their opening match. It begins a busy six-day schedule of nine matches for the team, led by skip Eileen Neilson with the other team members being Bob McPherson and Angie Malone.

Speaking about Gault’s call-up to the squad, ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission, Penny Briscoe said: "Jim is a really fantastic replacement and we’re delighted to be welcoming him onto the team. Our motto is ‘best prepared’ and the strength in depth that this squad has demonstrates that."

The team’s head coach, Tony Zummack, added: "Jim is a fantastic player and he has been part of the GB Wheelchair Curling squad for several years now, so he’s knows the team, our tactics and our plans inside out.

"He only narrowly missed out on selection for the team, so I have every confidence that he will slot in smoothly and will be a great asset to our team performances in Sochi."

Sainsbury’s is a proud long-term supporter of the British Paralympic Association and a champion of inclusive sport for all. For more information on Sainsbury’s commitment to inclusive sport visit: www.Sainsburys.co.uk/activekids

Read Jim’s full story, and Moray’s support for their Paralympics duo, in this week’s Northern Scot print edition.

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