While the fate of the Eleven Towns Tour is still uncertain, the first Wageningen Curling Championships (WACC) has already made it into the historical records. About 15 participants turned up on the Forum lake on Thursday afternoon to strive for the coveted title of curling champion.
The first water kettle sweeps across the ice. But its handle breaks off and hurtles across the path like a projectile. Then, one of the athletes tries with a bicycle saddle. This alternative curling stone does not seem to have enough momentum at first. Two sweepers work desperately to make the ice smoother, while the spectators hold their breaths. One of the sweepers loses his balance in his enthusiasm and lands flat on the ice. The other carries on sweeping as if his life depended on it. The rusty bicycle part comes to a standstill, ten metres short of the target. Cheers ring out.
Pans, pots and a wok also take to the ice. Even camping gas burners are being slid across the ice track. Water-filled kettles with sturdy handles and the bicycle saddle turn out to be the best curling stones among the lot. After half an hour's strive, it is clear which the best curling team on natural ice in Wageningen is. Time for awarding the medals: two Snickers and a Bounty.
If the ice is thick enough next year, the WACC will be organized again. But, says Jorien, it has to remain informal. 'Real curling stones are strictly forbidden.'