The easiest way to describe this discipline is undoubtedly to compare it to the game of bowls, however in a decidedly more wintery version, given that it takes place on ice.
In a curling match, two teams made up of four players launch granite stones (stones) weighing almost 20 kg across a sheet of ice, with the objective of arriving as close as possible to the target, called the house, represented by four concentric rings. Each team has a total of eight stones available, two for each player, during each end, or set. A whole game may last 8 or 10 ends. The points for each end are awarded when all the players have launched their stones, on the basis of how many stones belonging to the same team are closer to the centre of the house, exactly as takes place in bowls. The final objective is to obtain more points than the opposing team.
The particular characteristic of this sport is the so-called sweeping phase, used by players to heat up the ice with their brooms in order to change the trajectory or the speed of the stone. The strategy adopted by the team is also very important, with each team trying to protect its own stones from those of the adversary by positioning them with ingenuity and expertise in the house area.
Curling first appeared in the programme of the Universiade in Tarvisio in 2003, where it was presented as an optional discipline. It proved immediately popular: in the first edition 6 men’s teams and 5 women’s team battled it out for the gold medal, attracting a good number of spectators and giving rise to considerable interest.
For these reasons, curling has become one of the compulsory sports in the Universiade programme, with teams of the highest level participating year after year, also capable of winning important medals at other international competitions.
During the 2015 Winter Universiade in Granada, two curling tournaments will be organised: one for men and one for women.