Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2012 begin Sunday in New Zealand

The 2012 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships get underway in Naseby, New Zealand on Sunday 18 November. 13 teams (7 men’s teams and 6 women’s teams) from the World Curling Federation’s Pacific-Asia region will take part in the event with the finals taking place a week later on Sunday 25 November.

In the women’s competition, teams from Australia, China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea and New Zealand will play to secure the two World Curling Federation Pacific-Asia Zone qualification places for the World Women’s Curling Championship 2013 in Riga, Latvia (16-24 March).

Kazakhstan make their first appearance at the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships and will be skipped by Olga Ten, a fourth place finisher at the Asian Winter Games in 2007. 2010 World Mixed Doubles Silver Medallist, Bridget Becker, skips for New Zealand and Kim Forge skips the Australian team.

Olympic bronze medallist, China’s Bingyu Wang, returns as skip of the Chinese team for the 8th successive year. Three time silver medallist at the Pacific-Asia Junior Curling Championships, Eun-Jung Kim, skips a young Korean team who are making their first appearance at this level.

In the men’s event, teams from Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea and New Zealand will vie for the top two spots and qualification for the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2013 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (30 March – 7 April).

New Zealand will be hoping their home fans will spur them on following their impressive performance at the World Men’s Curling Championship earlier this year, where they finished in fifth position and were the only team to beat eventual World Champions Canada during the event.

Four time Pacific-Asia Curling Championship gold winner, Rui Liu, returns to skip the Chinese men’s team who will be looking for back to back gold medals at this Championship.

Meanwhile, Chang-Min Kim skips Korea who will be looking to improve on last year’s bronze medal finish while Australia will be skipped again by 2011 World Senior Men’s bronze medallist Hugh Millikin. Randolph Shen returns for the fourth year in a row to skip the Chinese Taipei team.

Japan have experience in their skip Yusuke Morozumi, a two time Pacific-Asia Curling Championship silver medallist, where as Kazakhstan will also be represented for the first time in the men’s event. They will be skipped by Viktor Kim who was in the same team as compatriot Olga Ten in the team that finished fourth at the 2007 Asian Winter Games.

The event is being staged in the Naseby Indoor Curling Rink. In the 21 year history of the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships (formerly Pacific Curling Championships), it is the third time that the event has been hosted by New Zealand (1994 Christchurch, 2002 Queenstown).