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Lockerbie gearing up to cheer on local boy Murdoch in Winter Olympic curling final

TEAM GB's curling skip David Murdoch will fulfil the dream of a lifetime when he takes to the ice today to go for gold at the Winter Olympics.

Alistair Stevenson, chairman of Lockerbie Ice Rink, has known Murdoch since he was a boy growing up on Langhill farm near the town, where curling is at the heart of the community.

He said that the 35-year old, who is competing at his third games, had been training since he was eight and will be "driven" to take the top podium spot.

The men's team are guaranteed to win at least a silver medal in today's final, meaning both British teams will come home with honours from the games.

Yesterday saw Eve Muirhead's women's team battle back from semi-final disappointment to win bronze against Switzerland in the play-off tie in Sochi.

Mr Stevenson said that there had been huge support for the women's team in the whole of Lockerbie, hometown to Team GB members Anna Sloan and Claire Hamilton, and that the local ice rink would be packed for the men's match today.

He said: "The rink was built by the community and there will be around 100 people there to cheer on the men's team during the match today. It will be packed. Curling is part of life here in Lockerbie and the rink is very much at the heart of the community."

Lockerbie Ice Rink was where a young Murdoch first learned the game and Mr Stevenson said that he showed promise from an early age.

He said: "He's always been dedicated and is a very driven guy. His father, Mat, had been involved in the ice rink so it was natural for David to take it up too.

"His brother and sister are also curlers but David's the one that has gone furthest. He'll be really focussed on the win today because he's had bad luck in the past."

He added that although Murdoch was single-minded on the rink, there was good feeling among all the national teams away from competition, with some of the Norwegian curlers even invited to his wedding.

Speaking ahead of the clash with Canada, who won the Vancouver 2010 men's competition, Murdoch said: "You just need to pressurise the other team as much as you can, try to force mistakes and get your nose in front, and then hope for the last shot to win.

"We have different game plans for different games and we actually called a pretty offensive game against Canada last time and did a lot of things right.

"We were probably about a millimetre or two away with my last stone from beating them in that round-robin game, so hopefully I will have that chance again. It would be nice to try to take it."

l Muirhead said her team's bronze medal finish was a "dream come true" as she celebrated after the win over Switzerland, a day after losing in the semi-finals to Canada.

The skip added: "The Olympic medal was the one medal we have been missing and for me to win it with four of my best friends seems so special.

"That shows what great athletes we are. Every athlete needs to learn how to lose before they can win."

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