Moncton para-athlete aims to compete at curling nationals in 2019
A 13-year-old competitive curler from Moncton is hoping a new prototype tool will help her improve her curling skills and help her eventually represent New Brunswick at the nationals in two years.
Carly Smith has been curling since she was six, along with playing provincial soccer and volleyball — and has been doing so despite having been born with only one arm.
Smith says she’s still found ways to compete.
“I kind of just tuck it under my armpit and hold my hand down low and just start sweeping, and I walk behind the rock so I can put more weight with my push and pull,” she told Global News.
Carly is part of an all-girls curling team in Moncton and said she considers the team as “pretty good” on the ice.
“I just adapt to everything in my own way,” she said. “I haven’t really met any other curlers with one arm.”
WATCH: A 13-year-old curler from Moncton with the determination of a champion is trying to sweep her way to the nationals one day. And as Shelley Steeves reports, she’s also hoping to inspire others to follow in her wake.
Carly’s mother, Cheryl Smith, said that adaptability is something her daughter has had since day one.
“Right from early days with Carly, she showed that she was determined to pretty much figure out anything,” she said. “She’s probably a little bit stubborn where she doesn’t stop until she figures it out.”
Youth curling coach Julie Hamel, from Quebec, first met Carly at a curling camp she and her daughter attended last summer.
She said the fact Carly had only one arm wasn’t something she noticed on the ice.
“She was so good,” Hamel said.
Hamel also coaches students in research and development at Concordia University in Montreal and is now working on perfecting a prototype curling tool — a tool that Carly got a chance to try out on Friday.
Hamel said she hopes the revamped equipment will help Carly grip the broom in a more stable way.
“It’s to put further pressure on the broom so there is a better effect on the rock,” Hamel said.
Carly said the tool will be helpful as her current method has resulted in some slipping incidents. She said she fell down once last year because was “sweeping so hard.” She said the main problem is the broom slipping under her armpit.
She said she’s hoping the new broom will help her improve her game, and added she hopes that it will inspire other para-athletes to take up the sport.
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