Don Bell searching for gold

MEMBER OF CANADIAN TEAM
ENTERED IN WORLD WHEELCHAIR
CURLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
By JIM MILLER
The Observer

After a surprising second place finish in the last year's World Wheelchair Curling Championship, Don Bell is heading back with the goal of bringing home a gold medal.

The 55-year old Nova employee and grandfather of six will again represent Canada in the World championships which this year are being held in Glasgow, Scotland. He leaves Jan. 26 for the week-long event.

Bell is the vice-skip on the London based rink which features skip Chris Dew of London, second Jim Primavera of Toronto and lead Karen Blachford of London. It's the identical rink from last year with the lone change being coach/alternate Bruce McAninich, who's new to the team.

The Canadian foursome received a huge confidence boost when they beat Team USA 11-4 and 11-0 in an event held this past weekend in New York.

"We're going to the Worlds hoping to do a lot better this year, said Bell. "Last year the Americans were the only team to beat us in the round-robin and we defeated them fairly handily, last week. It was kind of surprising.

Bell said the experience Canada gained at last year's event in Switzerland was valuable. The team reachedthe medal round and lost the final by a single point to the host nation.

"We improved alot on our knowledge of the game and delivery along with the weight of the rocks. Our coach has kept us curling at a high level and we're entering the Worlds with confidence but certainly not overconfidence. Nervousness and butterflies - they'll still be there. They always are in big events."

The squad has been practiisng on a wekly basis at either London's Thompson Arena or in Ilderton.

Point Edward's Don Bell with silver medal in 2002
Bell said his team's ultimate goal is to make the Paralympics in 2006 in Italy when curling becomes a medal sport for the first time.

Bell has participated in numerous wheelchair sporting activities over the years including tennis, track-and-field, shooting and basketball. For his efforts he was named to the Sarnia/Lambton Sports Hall of Fame in October, 2002.
The Point Edward resident said curling is quickly becoming his favourite sport.

"Before, I liked whatever was in season and I didn't really have a favourite. Curling is quickly taking over and it's now the thing I want to focus on. It's not as hard on my body as other sports and there's a
more social aspect to curling than other sports and I enjoy that."

Bell said he was proud to wear Canada's uniform in last year's event.

"It's amazing how the rest of the world loves Canadians. We were treated royally. Whenever we went, people wanted to get to know us. The way Canada was received was overwhelming."


(From Sports Extra section Jan. 25, 2003 as published in The Observer)

(photo by The Observer)


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