Ice stock also known as Bavarian Curling, a predominantly European sport has managed to make signiﬁcant inroads in Namibia with the National team standing as four time champions of the Africa Cup to date.
The Villager Sport caught up with one of the country’s leading Ice Stock player Detlef Pierre Pfeifer soon after the successful conclusion of the Ice Stock Namibian Championship tourney held recently in Swakopmund who expressed enthusiasm on the growth of the sport. “It is the only winter sport and that is why we call it the “Cool-runnings” of Namibia, it is like roll-ball in ice and one may ask but where is the ice in Namibia. We play it on concrete or the same ﬂoor used in playing Inland Hockey,” he said.
For a long time, Ice Stock has been practiced mainly in southern Germany, Austria and Italy while European Championships were ﬁ rst held in 1951, and World Championships were ﬁ rst held in 1983, after the International Federation Ice Stock Sport (IFE) had been established. With four clubs taking the sport to another level, two in Windhoek, one in Swakop and the other in Keetmans, since the inception of the Ice Stock Association Namibian has raised its ﬂag high already at ﬁve world championships.
“Every time we have been improving, we are four time winners of the Africa Cup and our ladies have won one out of the two continental matches they have played so far,” he said.
It is synonymous with ice, which explains why it is popular in Europe, yet Ice Stock enthusiasts have not been stopped by the scorching heat of Namibia’s clime and have dared enjoy the game on tarmac and hard surfaces. With a hand-held disc from a distance of about 20 meters one has to shoot an opponent out, or block with the Ice Stock making the game a mental contest that requires calculation and tactic.
“We also have young players and one of them has been to the junior championships where he was the only one participating from Africa last year in Italy. We had a lot of attention as Africans playing a winter sport, “said Pfeifer.
In Italy Namibia managed to score a world record which is yet to be broken to date, which shows how serious the sport is being taken and growing. A target shooting competition has been held recently and Pfeifer explained, “It is a very technical discipline where you have six shots with a target in the middle, In other rounds you have to shoot out an ice stock. The ladies performed well in this one.”
Target shooting is one of a variety of disciplines in Ice Stoke and together with distance shooting; it is contested in international championships. “Our rankings in the world are starting t get better and better. In Africa we are number one before Kenya and Gabon,” he also told The Villager Sport.
With Ice Stock thus growing, Namibia has a chance to host the up coming Africa Cup on the 21st and 22nd of July in Swakopmund as well.
“We will be hosting Kenya, most probably Gabon will join. For that opportunity, the president of the World Ice Stock Association, Manfred Schäfer will also come to Namibia and we are very proud of it. He will also pose as one of the referees,” said Pfeifer.