CURLING star Derrick Sloan lead Team GB to gold at the World University Winter Games in Kazakhstan.

The 22-year-old, from Clackmannan, joined teammates Bruce Mouat, Gregor Cannon, Bobby Lammie and Alasdair Schreiber on the top of the podium, following a closely-contested final against Sweden.

Speaking after the win, he said: "It was quite a surreal moment, as we definitely didn't feel like we controlled the game and we thankfully managed to pull it all together at the end.

"It was a big relief, as we went to Kazakhstan with one goal and that was to bring home the gold.

"To manage to do so was a great reward for all the hard work we put in and the sacrifices each of us had made."

Derrick graduated from Robert Gordon University (RGU) last year and is currently undertaking his pre-registration year as a pharmacist with Well Pharmacy in Alloa.

He fondly remembers how his love for curling began as a young child in the Wee County.

He said: "I have curled since I was around eight years old. My dad curled and he was eager for me to give it a go myself. One day, I tried and I was soon hooked. I have been a curler ever since and owe my medals to that early start."

The World University Winter Games, also known as the Winter Universiade, are organised by the International University Sports Federation (FISU).

This year's event took place between 29 January and 8 February in Almaty and featured around 2,000 athletes from 64 countries.

The gold medal was the latest success for Derrick, who was an RGU SPORT scholar throughout his time at RGU.

As a SPORT Scholar, he benefitted from a tailor-made package of support from the university, which helped him combine his training and competing with studying towards his Pharmacy degree.

Derrick said: "Being an RGU SPORT scholar was extremely beneficial, as it gave me access to a number of services, which helped me compete to the highest possible standard. The university was also very helpful and gave me time off to take part in competitions across the world."

In addition to this latest success, Derrick won a silver medal at the 2013 Winter Universiade in Trentino and won bronze representing Scotland at the World Junior Curling Championships in Estonia in 2015.

The experience of the games, particularly living in the atmosphere of the athletes' village, has fuelled Derrick's passion to push towards a place in the Olympic Games.

He said: "It was my first time in a real games atmosphere and the sheer size of the event definitely added to the experience for me. It's given me a real hunger to spur myself on for the future.

"In the near future, we're competing in the Scottish Men's Championships, then the Aberdeen International Championships, before hopefully representing Scotland in the World Men's Championships in Edmonton in April.

"Throughout all of this, our main aspiration is to continue our development and aim to represent Great Britain at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing."

Campbell Scott, sports programme manager at RGU SPORT, added: "Derrick has been one of the standout success stories from the RGU SPORT scholars programme and we will continue to follow his progress with a mix of pride and excitement.

"His determination to constantly improve himself and aim towards Olympic success is an inspiration to younger athletes and we have little doubt that he will continue to build on his early successes."