Moray wheelchair curler Gregor Ewan is back in GB team and aiming for a third Paralympics in Beijing 2022
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A THIRD Paralympics appearance and a gold medal are Moray wheelchair curler Gregor Ewan's targets after winning back his place in the British team.
Ewan (48) won bronze with Team GB in the Sochi Games in 2014 and also took part in PyeongChang in South Korea four years later.
The Elgin-based curler took some time out of the sport due to an eye injury but is back fitter than ever and returned to British Curling's squad for the 2020-21 season.
"It’s definitely great to be back," he said. "I’ve still got that drive, I still want a gold medal. I’ve got a bronze, I’ve got a silver and 2022 in Beijing is what I’m aiming for."
Ewan is currently quarantined at home and missing the sport he loves. Earlier this year he was preparing for a shot at his sixth Scottish title in a row alongside Moray Curling Club colleague Jim Gault, who won Paralympics bronze alongside him in Russia six years ago.
However, the Covid-19 lockdown put paid to this year's Scottish Championships, meaning Ewan's victory in the British Open at the start of March was his last competitive outing.
He revealed how a healthier lifestyle got him in shape to regain his passion for curling and reignite his desire to win more major titles.
"The last couple of years I’ve been away from the squad. I’ve changed a lot of things in my life and realised I needed to try a bit harder and get back in the squad.
"I lost a lot of weight and got a different type of fitness going, concentrated more on my food. I’ve lost four stones and that’s made a big difference, especially being in the wheelchair and lifting yourself.
Ewan has been picked for the Team GB squad of eight, but only five get selected to go to the Paralympics.
China also hosts the world championships next year, as well as a trial event for the Paralympics with qualification points up for grabs.
"It’s up to yourself to say 'that’s my goal' and you go for it. Everybody in the squad has got that drive to be there but you can only pick five at the end of the day and Sheila (Swan) and the coaches have a hard job to pick the final team."
Either side of Ewan's bronze medal success in Sochi, he won two world championship medals for Scotland, a silver in Prague in 2011 and a bronze in Gangneung, South Korea three years ago.
He has also secured four British and eight Scottish titles in his career.
Team GB skip and fellow Scot Hugh Nibloe welcomed Ewan's return to the british fold.
“There is no-one as proud as Gregor to pull on the Scotland or GB shirt,” he said. “He has a wealth of w orld Champs and Paralympics experience that all of the squad will be able to lean on and learn from.
“There will be a greater depth this season and everyone in the squad will have to work hard and train hard to earn their place in the team and I am excited by that.
“I think it will bring out the best in the squad moving forwards and I know how important this is for Gregor to be back.
"I am looking forward to getting back on the ice with him, he is a big personality and will really add to the team dynamics and will add drive towards the pursuit of our goals ahead.”
Ewan has been frustrated by the lockdown period denying him time on ice.
"I love the game, yet I never thought curling was for me when I first started.
"One of my mates, Norman Anderson got me to come down one day and I couldn’t understand why I couldn't get this wee stone to sit in this house, how did it keep sliding through, or how was I so short?
"But it just hooked me and before I knew it I was turning up at the ice rink Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday to play curling.
"Even now I’m sitting in quarantine, wondering 'when is the ice rink opening?'. I want to go and curl. It’s frustrating.
The curling season begins in September, though British Curling international training traditionally continues through the summer months.
"They’ve got the Stirling ice rink, the excellence centre for curling and it runs all year," Ewan said. "So you can get practice ice all year, normally, but just now that’s closed.
"When it does start up again, I think they said I’ll be down every second week in Stirling for maybe three days training.
"It will be gym work, strength and conditioning, a lot of video analysis and strategy and a lot of on-ice practising.
"The target is to be in the team going out to Beijing next year."
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