Ford World Women’s Curling Championship 2012 starts Saturday

The Ford World Women’s Curling Championship 2012, presented by Richardson, begins in Canada on Saturday March 17 and runs until Sunday March 25. Twelve of the top women’s curling teams in the world will compete at the event which is being staged at the recently-upgraded Enmax Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta.

The twelve teams who have qualified for this event are: Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Korea, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.

Following the opening ceremony on Saturday March 17, the teams meet in seventeen sessions of round-robin play until the evening of Thursday 22 March. After this, tie-breakers (if needed), Page Play-off games, and curling’s sole semi-final will be staged before bronze, silver and gold medals are decided in the finals on Sunday 25 March.

Heather Nedohin and her team from Edmonton, Alberta, will represent the host country, Canada, fresh from their win in this season’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts – the Canadian women’s national championship.

Scotland will be represented by four-time world junior champion Eve Muirhead, who leads a new combination for this season that won the European women’s title in Moscow in December.

Sweden’s double Olympic champion Anette Norberg won gold at last year’s world championship event in Denmark with a new line-up, but it falls to European silver medallist Margaretha Sigfridsson and her team to defend the title for their country.

2011 bronze medallists and 2009 World Champions, Bingyu Wang and her team will represent China after winning the 2011 Pacific Asia Curling Championships in Nanjing, China last November.

Pipped to fourth place in 2011 by the Chinese, Lene Neilsen and her team return to represent Denmark again this year.

Following a leg injury, Germany’s Andrea Schöpp has had to withdraw from competition and Melanie Robillard will replace her on the team. Final confirmation on who will actually skip the German line up will come at the team meeting ahead of the start of the event.

Two-time Olympic Silver medallist, Mirjam Ott, will skip the team representing Switzerland. This will be Ott’s seventh World Championship appearance.

Like all the European nations, Italy won the right to head to Lethbridge at the Le Gruyère European Championships in Moscow. Italy returns after a three-year absence from world championship level. The team will be skipped by Diana Gaspari, who is making her eighth appearance in this event.

While the Czech Republic has become a familiar name in the line-ups at recent World Championships, this is the first world championship for Czech skip Linda Klimova.

Straight from winning bronze at the 2012 World Junior Curling Championships in Sweden, Anna Sidorova will skip the Russian women’s team. The line up coming to Lethbridge won bronze on home soil at the Europeans in December.

Ji-Sun Kim and her team return to represent Korea for the second year in a row, having finished with silver at the 2011 Pacific Asia Championships and securing the second Pacific-Asia spot at the event.

And finally, Allison Pottinger, who won a gold medal at the 2003 Ford World Women’s Championship in Winnipeg as third for Debbie McCormick, makes her debut as a skip for USA at World Championship level.

This will be the 34th World Women’s Curling Championship. The first event being held in Perth, Scotland in 1979. From 1989 to 2004 the Women’s and Men’s events were combined. Since 2005, they have been held separately again.

Canada has won the title 15 times. Sweden, current world champions, has won the event 8 times.

The Ford World Women’s Curling Championship will also earn Olympic qualifying points for the competing nations. Based on cumulative points earned for their finishes at the 2012 and 2013 women’s championships, the top seven countries (host Russia receives an automatic entry), will compete at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

An additional two nations will have the chance to win their ticket to Sochi at a new World Curling Federation Olympic Qualifying Event to be held in December 2013. All nations having competed at the 2011, 2012 and 2013 World Championships would be eligible to compete in this event if they have not already secured their spot at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Ford Motor Company of Canada has been involved with the sport of curling since 1995. The company began its title sponsorship of the World Curling Championships in Brandon, Manitoba.

“Ford is proud to be the sponsor of the world’s premier women’s curling event,” said Graeme Whickman, Vice President, Marketing, Ford Motor Company of Canada. “We want to offer good luck to the athletes and thank the City of Lethbridge and all of the volunteers who will make this event such a great success. Ford is honoured and dedicated to giving back to communities around the world while providing drivers with safe, innovative, and reliable vehicles.”

World Curling TV (WCTV), the television arm of the World Curling Federation, will provide extensive live and video-on-demand coverage to broadcasters outside of Canada. WCF Broadcast Partners for the 2012 World Championships include Eurosport (Eurosport, Eurosport 2 and Eurosport Player) in Europe, CCTV-5 in China, Universal Sports Network in the USA and SporTV in Brazil. In Canada, TSN (RDS in Quebec) will carry all Team Canada games throughout the round robin, followed by the playoffs and medal games.

The broadcast schedule for this event is available here:

News, live scores, team line ups and more can been seen on the event website: With additional coverage and galleries available here on the WCF website.

Twitter hashtags for the event: #wwcc2012 #worldcurling #curling

The World Women’s Curling Championships 2013 will take place in Riga, Latvia, from 16-24 March.