Garion Long in action.
CURLING A FORMER Islander, now living in New Zealand, is preparing to represent his new home in the sport of curling.
Garion Long, 18, a former pupil of Hunnyhill Primary and Kitbridge Middle schools, has been selected for the New Zealand junior men’s curling team to compete in the Pacific Asia Competition in Japan on January 7.
The competition in Tokoro is a tough qualifier for the Junior World Championships, and only the gold medal winners will go through.
Garion, who moved to New Zealand six and a half years ago, took up curling when he joined Long Bay College, and was spotted by selectors while competing in the national under-21 competition in Naseby.
He had earlier tried out for the Youth Olympic Games and only narrowly missed a spot on the team.
Speaking to the County Press last week, Garion said: "I was told by a friend at school that I’d got a place in the team, I thought he was winding me up as I hadn’t heard anything. I had to wait until I went curling in the evening to find out for sure. Even then I thought it was a wind up until I had the e-mail confirmation through.
"I’m really excited, it’s not the sort of opportunity I would have got on the Island.
"I’m looking forward to Japan, some of the team are staying an extra week so I'll be able to soak up the culture. It’s going to be a tough competition but whatever happens, it’s going to be a great experience."
The talented teenager, who lives in Stanmore Bay, plays in an adult curling league at his nearest rink, Paradice rink in Auckland. But his other love is rugby. The former Vectis player stars in Long Bay College’s first team, and he also helps coach the school’s seventh grade rugby side and is also a referee.
Next year he will study for a diploma in sport and recreation, specialising in rugby.