Cousins set to sweep for Great Britain in Siberia
Published on 22 February 2019
Two curling cousins will represent Great Britain next month as they take to the ice at the World University Winter Games in Siberia
University of Dundee student, Leeanne McKenzie and her cousin Mili Smith, a student at the University of Stirling, will join 36 fellow athletes from 26 British universities as they head to Krasnoyarsk, in the heart of the Siberian mountains.
As well as representing their country, the pair will also get the chance to play together in a team for the first time when they take part in the prestigious championships.
In all 2,500 athletes from across the world will compete in the Games, which take place from the 2nd – 12th March.
Leeanne, a first-year Scottish Law and French student, said she was thrilled to have been selected, adding that it will be the opportunity of a lifetime to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with her cousin on the ice.
“These games are the biggest international event that I can take part in at this stage in my curling career,” she explained. “I represented Scotland last year after winning three national titles in one season and now I get to compete for Great Britain, which is something I’ve always dreamt of.”
Leeanne, who began curling when she was 12 years old, said that a love of curling runs in her family. Mili’s older brothers, Kyle and Cammy, debuted for Team GB last year in PyeongChang while Leeanne’s uncles David and Peter Smith both represented Team GB at the Winter Olympics.
“You could say it runs in my blood. Getting the chance to curl at such a high level with Mili by my side is just the best opportunity I could have asked for.
“We’ve been told to expect -30 degree temperatures, so it will be very different to what we are used to. You don’t really hear of anyone going to Siberia but the facilities look amazing, and the curling arena has been built especially for the games.”
Originally from Perth, Leeanne said that studying at the University offers her great flexibility when it comes to getting time on the ice.
“When I visited on an open day, I immediately had a great feeling about the campus. It’s close to home and where I need to train but the University staff are so understanding and helpful.”
Leeanne plans to slide to success with the team in Siberia, after which she hopes to continue curling alongside her studies, as she aims for Olympic selection in the future.
Image credit: WCF / Tom Rowland & Jeffrey Au.
Press Office, University of Dundeepress@dundee.ac.uk