Bell's golden moment

POINT EDWARD
MAN HELPS
CANADA WIN GOLD
MEDAL IN CURLING
By JIM MILLER
The Observer

Don Bell is on top of the world.

The 55-year old grandfather from Point Edward served as the vice-skip on Chris daw's Team Canada rink which struck gold at this past weekend's World Wheelchair Curling championships in Scotland.

"It's probably one of the greatest moments I've had so far," said the 20 year veteran of wheelchair sports, who was recently inducted into the Sarnia/Lambton Sports Hall of Fame.

"It was marvelous. We beat the Swiss in the semifinals and they were the ones who knocked us out in the championship last year. That was huge. We then beat Scotland in the final. We were the only team there to go 5-0 but the teams have improved so much from last year. We knew, and our coach knew, that we couldn't take anyone lightly."

Team Canada knocked off Switzerland 7-4 in the semi-final. The final against Scotland was a gutsy effort. Trailing 4-2 entering the sixth and final end, Canada pulled off two points to force an extra end where they scored one for the 5-4 victory.

"Our improvement was due to constantly being on our draw weight and on our takeouts," said Bell

This is only the second year the rink has been together. In their debut season, they won a silver at the international event.

Don Bell of Point Edward shows off a handcrafted glass rock and Scottish tartan after returning home with a gold medal at the World Wheelchair Curling championships in Scotland. Bell helped the Canadian team win a gold medal.
Bell was scheduled to return to the Chris Hatfield Airport on Monday night where his son had invited many of his friends to attend. Bad weather in England forced his travel plans to be altered. He managed to find his way to London, Ontario and was picked up by his family there to return home at 3 a.m. on Tuesday.

"Our team celebrated with a bottle of champagne because our goal there was to do better than last year. We didn't go there expecting to win because we knew how tough the competition was. Once we won, I wanted to phone home. I wanted to tell my wife and then my kids, because I knew they were behind me. I also appreciated the support of all the people in Point Edward and Sarnia who backed me up and who believed in me."

Bell said the rink plans on staying together for the next few years in preparation for the World championships in Italy in 2005
which is a prelude to the Paralympics. Makin the Parlympics is the ultimate goal for them.

Next year's world championship is in Switzerland.

"The hospitality was overwhelming. The people of Scotland treated us like gold. It's great being a Canadian. We were so well received. We had our own driver and our own mini-bus ....they took us all over the place."


(From Sports section Feb. 5, 2003 as published in The Observer)

(photo by Nora Penhale of The Observer)


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