Killin out of GB curling team for Sochi

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Britain's wheelchair curling team has been forced to make a change as Tom Killin has fallen ill just a week before the start of the Sochi Paralympics.

Doctors have advised Killin, who won silver for ParalympicsGB at Turin 2006, not to travel and he has now been replaced by reserve Jim Gault.

Gault, 59, took up wheelchair curling in 2008 and competed for Team Scotland at the World Championships in 2012. He has been part of the GB squad for the last four years.

“I’ve trained and competed alongside Tom as a team-mate for several years so I know how hard we all trained and how much he wanted to represent ParalympicsGB once more, so of course I am really upset for Tom," said Gault.

“At the same time, I have just been given an amazing opportunity to represent my country on the biggest stage in disability sport and of course I am looking forward to it.

“I just want do my very best for the team and put in some great performances on the ice.”

Jim knows the team, our tactics and our plans inside out - GB head coach Tony Zummack

Killin, 63, had been set to make his fifth Paralympic appearance, having won four fencing medals at the 1980 and 1984 Summer Games and competed in wheelchair curling at Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010.

The GB team, led by skip Aileen Neilson, will play their first game on day one of the tournament when they face Canada on Saturday 8 March.

Head coach Tony Zummack said Killin's withdrawal was difficult news with the Games so close, but he was confident Gault could compete at the highest level.

He added: “We are devastated for Tom. He has trained very hard over the last four years to prepare for the Paralympic Games and he is incredibly disappointed that he is not in a position to compete.

“However, we have to make the best decision for Tom’s health and for the team as a whole and this unfortunately means that Tom will not join us in Sochi.

“Jim is a fantastic player and he has been part of the GB Wheelchair Curling squad for several years now, so he’s knows the team, our tactics and our plans inside out.

“He only narrowly missed out on selection for the team, so I have every confidence that he will slot in smoothly and will be a great asset to our team performances in Sochi.”

We all wish him a speedy recovery - ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe

Penny Briscoe, ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission, said: “We are very disappointed for Tom that his opportunity to compete in Sochi has gone at this late stage. 

“We all wish him a speedy recovery and knowing that he’ll be cheering us on will, I’m sure, spur the team on.

“Jim is a really fantastic replacement and we’re delighted to be welcoming him onto the team.

“Our motto is ‘best prepared’ and the strength in depth that this squad has demonstrates that.”