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Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2011 starts Saturday

Canadian Skip Jeff Stoughton and Norwegian Skip Thomas Ulsrud are ready for action at the Men's World Championship. Photo: CCA/Michael Burns Photog

The Ford World Men’s Curling Championship, presented by Richardson, starts this Saturday (2 April) in the Brandt Centre at Evraz Place in Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan in Canada. Altogether twelve countries will contest the Championship which runs to Sunday 10th April.

Hosts and reigning world champion nation, Canada, will be represented by Jeff Stoughton and his team from the neighbouring province of Manitoba. Stoughton won the title in 1996 in Hamilton, Ontario.

The other countries competing are: China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Korea, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and USA.

Among the well-known teams are Olympic silver medallists and current European champions Thomas Ulsrud and his team with their fancy curling pants from Norway. The team (minus Ulsrud who had to return home for family reasons) took silver at the Capital One World Men’s Championship in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, last year with Torger Nergård stepping up to skip.

Former European and world junior champion Niklas Edin will skip the team from Sweden and the team from USA will be led by Pete Fenson, bronze medallist at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino (Pinerolo), Italy. Fenson finished fourth at last year’s event in Italy.

Andy Kapp is making his thirteenth World Championship appearance as skip of the German team while Tom Brewster makes his first appearance skipping the Scottish men’s team.

World championship veteran Tommy Stjerne of Hvidovre, leads the team from Denmark. Stjerne beat his son Rasmus in the Danish national men’s final and has appointed Rasmus, who skipped Denmark to silver at the 2010 Le Gruyère European Championships, as team coach for this event.

Thomas Dufour of Chamonix is skip of the team representing France and Christof Schwaller of St. Moritz, and his team that took bronze at the European Championships in December represent Switzerland. Completing the field are the Czech Republic’s Jiri Snitil of Brno, along with the winner and runner-up at the 2010 Pacific Championships, China’s Luan Chen of Harbin and Korea’s Dong Keun Lee of Chuncheon City, respectively.

2011 marks the 17th year of title sponsorship of a world curling championship by Ford of Canada, and the seventh consecutive year that the men’s and women’s championships have been conducted separately, after being combined from 1989-2004.

It is also the 53rd edition of the world men’s curling championship, which was contested as the Scotch Cup for the first time in 1959 in Scotland and featured a team from Canada (skip Ernie Richardson of Regina) against one from Scotland (skip Willie Young) in a five-game series. Richardson is the only four-time winner of the world men’s as skip.

Round-robin play begins on Saturday 2nd April and continues through seventeen sessions until Thursday 7th April. Tie-breakers will follow, if required. Page Play-offs take place on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th. The first and second place teams at the end of the round robin will meet in one game, with the winner advancing directly to the gold medal final on Sunday 10th while the loser goes to Saturday’s semi-final. The third and fourth place round robin teams also meet, with the winner advancing to the semi-final. The loser of this game goes to Sunday’s bronze medal game to face the semi-final loser.

In Canada, the sports network TSN will televise all round robin games involving Canada, followed by the playoffs, semi final and gold medal game on Sunday. World Curling TV, the television-making arm of the World Curling Federation, will be onsite producing extensive TV and web coverage for broadcasters outside Canada, including Eurosport (Europe), Universal Sports (United States), China’s CCTV5 and Brazil’s GloboSporTV. Full coverage details can be seen here: http://www.worldcurling.org/ford-world-mens-curling-championship-2011-tv-web-coverage

Canada has hosted 20 men’s world championships, including this year. This will mark the third time that Regina has hosted a men’s world championship. The city previously staged two Air Canada Silver Brooms: in 1973, when won by Sweden’s Kjell Oscarius and in 1983, when won by Canada’s Ed Werenich.

Since 2005, when the men’s and women’s world championships were separated once again, Canada has alternately hosted either championship each year. The 2009 Ford World Men’s was held in Moncton, New Brunswick while the 2010 Ford World Women’s was staged in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

Results will be instantly available on the Canadian Curling Association (www.curling.ca) and mirrored on the World Curling Federation (www.worldcurling.org) websites:
http://www.curling.ca/championships/worlds/
http://www.worldcurling.org/ford-world-mens-curling-championship-2011
http://results.worldcurling.org/Championship.aspx?id=396