Portugal's first curling tournament featured 40 novice players ©FDIP

Portugal has launched a curling tournament designed to promote the sport in the central city of Covilhã.

The competition featured eight teams and was conducted over a week with some 40 players who had never played the sport before.

Sessions were guided by national coaches and two players from the Portuguese team who had learned the game in Canada.

The event was promoted by the Portuguese Winter Sports Federation (FDIP), in partnership with the City Council of Covilhã,

FDIP President Pedro Flávio insisted it was a "challenge to communities to start developing the sport".

The competition was staged at the Ice Arena Penhas da Saúde in Covilhã.

"It is impressive to see how they manage, with almost millimetre precision, to execute the defined strategy," said Luís Pires, President of the recently formed ice club in the city.

The session was also attended by José Miguel Oliveira, city councillor for special responsibility for sport, who was able to take part in his first game of curling.

"It is a very interesting game, as a participant, I really enjoyed the experience," Oliveira said.

"As a councillor, this discipline has all the potential to grow and take advantage of this infrastructure that we have here." 

The federation had conducted a social media campaign to attract participants for the session.

"It is very different from seeing it on television," local resident Cristina Santos told the TPN Lusa news agency. 

"The cold is difficult, but it is also hard to master the techniques, the speed, the state of the ice, the way to pick up the stone, everything counts."

The World Curling Federation granted recognition to the FDIP in 2017.