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New Year kicks off with Junior Curling Action!

Junior curlers take to the ice in the Northern and Southern hemispheres over the next fortnight in events that open the way to qualification for the 2011 World Junior Curling Championships and the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games to be held in Innsbruck, Austria, in January 2012.

22 junior curling teams from across Europe are currently gathered in the Czech capital, Prague, to compete in the World Curling Federation’s European Junior Curling Challenge (EJCC 2011) where the winning junior women’s and junior men’s teams will qualify for the 2011 Junior Championships in Perth, Scotland.

Nine junior women’s teams are playing from Denmark, England, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland, Slovakia and Spain.

The thirteen junior men’s teams taking part have been split into two pools: Pool A - England, Estonia, Netherlands, Russia, Slovakia, Spain and Wales. Pool B – Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy and Poland.

Play begins on Monday evening at Prague’s Curling Hall Roztyly with a round robin for both the junior men and women running through to Friday the 7th of January.

The first placed junior women’s team at the end of the round robin qualifies directly for the final on Saturday 8th with the 2nd and 3rd placed teams playing off for the remaining place in the final.

The top two-ranked junior men’s teams in each pool will play off for the final slots. Both finals are scheduled to take place at 15:30 local on Saturday. The two winning teams gain entry to the World Juniors in Perth which take place from 5-13 March 2011.

Follow the results and more from the EJCC here: http://ejcc2011.curling.cz

As the EJCC comes to a close, on the other side of the world in Naseby, New Zealand, junior teams will be getting ready to compete in the 2011 Pacific Junior Curling Championships.

The 2011 event sees junior men’s and women’s teams from Australia, China, Japan, Korea and New Zealand taking part in a double round robin which begins on Monday 10th of January. The championships are being played at the Maniototo Curling International Rink.

The finals take place on Saturday 15th at 14:30 local time. The winning teams will also head to Perth, Scotland for the World Juniors having secured the World Curling Federation’s Pacific region berths at the event.

You can follow the results from the PJCC here: http://www.curling.org.nz/2011pjcc

Teams that have already qualified for the World Junior Curling Championships 2011 in Perth, Scotland:

Junior Women: Canada (Silver 2010), Czech Republic, France, Russia, Scotland, Sweden (Gold 2010), Switzerland, USA (Bronze 2010).

Junior Men: Canada (Bronze 2010), Denmark, Finland, Norway, Scotland (Silver 2010), Sweden, Switzerland (Gold 2010), USA

Further information about the event can be seen here: http://www.wjcc2011.com and here http://www.worldcurling.org/world-junior-curling-championships-2011

Through the final rankings at the EJCC 2011, PJCC 2011 and WJCC 2011, National Olympic Committees will gain points for the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria (13-22 January 2012). http://www.innsbruck2012.com/

In what is set to be a landmark experience, 16 mixed gender teams, aged between 17 and 18, will compete in a mixed curling competition (14-18 January 2012) and a unique, mixed nationality, Mixed Doubles Curling event (20-22 January 2012). Competitors will also participate in a Culture and Education Programme aimed to raise awareness about Olympic values.

The 16 Mixed teams will be selected (based on the highest number of points accumulated from the three events above) in the following manner:

1 team from the host country (Austria)
2 teams from North America
1 team from South America
3 teams from Asia
1 team from Oceania
8 teams from Europe.

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