Dozens of curlers from around the world have arrived in Langley and Surrey for the annual International U18 Curling Championships, which gets underway Wednesday and runs until Sunday (March 27-31).
The curlers representing clubs from Canada, the United States and Japan will compete over a five-day tournament in an event dedicated for athletes under 18 years of age.
It provides an opportunity for young athletes to mature and enhance their curling skills in an international junior competition.
"In curling, a child does not need to be bigger, faster or stronger to grow from playground to podium," said Al Kersey, event chair.
In addition to the tournament, competitors will also have the opportunity to participate in a high performance development camp to focus on honing their skills.
With the guidance of four international curling coaches, the curlers will work on team building skills, and mental and physical prep before games.
The U18 championships attract some of the best young curlers in the world, and many go on to compete at professional levels.
Alumni Rachel Homan of Ontario won the 2013 Scotties Canadian Women's Curling Championship in February and is now competing for Team Canada at the World Women's Curling Championships in Riga, Latvia from March 16 to 24.
Another past competitor, Team Brown, from the Kamloops Curling Club just won the 2013 Tim Hortons Junior Women's BC Championship and competed for Team Canada at the 2013 Junior World Championships in Sochi, Russia.
"With the increased television exposure this winter, curling has become the 'hot' sport due to the reduced hockey season," said Mel Kositsky, host chair.
"This event has a history of producing a number of today's champions, and hopefully the communities of Surrey and Langley will come out and watch these future rock stars."
The competition will be held at the Langley Curling Club, 20699 42nd Ave., and at the Cloverdale Curling Club, 6150 176th St.
For more information about the event, visit www.U18curling.ca.
Follow the event on Twitter @u18curling and check out its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/u18curling.
@ Copyright 2013