|Jess and Ben Smith. Photo © WGNZ / Iain McGregor|
29 Nov 2020 – Maniototo siblings Jessica and Ben Smith earned the right to represent New Zealand at the 2021 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship when they won the three-team National Trial this weekend.
It has been a long wait for the pair. This is the third time they have won that right, but for personal reasons they did not go in 2019, and this year's World tournament was a casualty of the pandemic.
The 2020 cancellation increased the importance of the 2021 World Championship as an Olympic qualifier, triggering a one-off change from the NZ Curling Association. They introducing this National Trial rather than the automatic selection of the New Zealand Championship winners as the national team.