With the Sochi Winter Olympics right around the corner, Israel got back on the international curling map this month when 48 of 49 World Curling Federation delegates voted to reinstate the country as a full member.
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The reinstatement followed years of persistence and lobbying, and despite a lack of facilities and limited funding from the Olympic Committee of Israel and the Sports Ministry.
Even time on the ice at the Canada Center in Metulla is hard to come by, Israel Curling's Simon Peck told Haaretz. "This was not the vision of the late mayor of Metulla, Yosef Goldberg," he said. "His dream was for Israel to become a winter sports wonderland and much of that dream for curling died with him in 2002.
Canada was the lone abstainer, but the curling powerhouse voted that way because of a technicality and not because it perceived any clear and present threat from Israel.
Former shooting Olympian Alex Tripolski, who participated in the 1996 Games in Atlanta, heads the sport locally. Practices take place on various ice conditions throughout the country between Metulla, Holon and Jerusalem.
The World Curling Federation welcomes the Israel Curling Federation into the World Curling family," federation president Kate Caithness said this week. "The WCF recognizes the great potential for developing our sport in Israel and looks forward to supporting Israel's work in growing curling."