March 11, 2010
Having made a successful debut in Turin four years ago, wheelchair curling is now set to be one of the major attractions of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
The 10th edition of the games gets underway on Friday 12th March, with the round-robin curling action starting on Saturday 13th March and the medal games being staged on Saturday March 20th.
Ten teams have qualified for the Paralympic Winter Game competition through their performances at previous three world championships, including all three medal-winning nations from the Turin Games.
Full team line-ups can be seen here: http://www.worldcurling.org/wheelchair-curling-teams-for-vancouver-2010
Canada won gold in Turin. With current world champion Jim Armstrong skipping, they will be determined to retain their title on home ice. Armstrong, a former able-bodied competitor in Canada’s famous national championship event, The Brier, won his world title on the same ice-pad last year, when the Vancouver Olympic Centre staged the Wheelchair World Championship as a trial event for this year’s competition.
Great Britain took silver in Turin. Their 2010 all-Scottish squad is skipped by Michael McCreadie, one of three players from the Turin line-up.
Sweden’s Jarl ‘Jalle’ Jungnell skipped his team to Paralympic bronze four years ago, beating Norway in the bronze medal game, and he once again leads Sweden into action for this event.
Norway are also in the line-up this time round and skip Rune Lorentsen will be hoping his team repeat the performances of Turin, when they battled through a tie-break to qualify for a semi-final, where they were just edged out by eventual winners Canada.
The remaining teams in the line-up are Germany, skipped by Jens Jäger; Italy, led by Andrea Tabanelli; Japan, skipped by Yoji Nakajima; Korea, under Haksung Kim; Switzerland, skipped by Manfred Bolliger; and the United States of America, skipped by Augusto Perez. Of these, Germany, Japan and Korea are newcomers to the Paralympic stage.
In Turin, only eight teams competed, but for Vancouver, the field has been extended to ten teams, although with four sheets in use, a maximum of eight will be playing at any one time.
The opening round-robin draw brings together Great Britain and Canada in a repeat of the last Paralympic Winter Games final, with Korea making their debut against the USA and Sweden playing Switzerland. Italy and Japan are not taking part in the first session.
Photo: CURLIT Ltd