World Senior Curling Championships 2011 Preview

The final World Curling Federation (WCF) championships of the 2010-2011 season get underway on Sunday 17 April when Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA plays host to the 2011 World Mixed Doubles Championship and the 2011 World Seniors Curling Championships.

St Paul Curling Club

The two events will run until Saturday 23 April and will be staged simultaneously in the historic eight-sheeter St Paul Curling Club which was originally founded in 1888 and is currently the largest curling club in the United States.

The Mixed Doubles World Curling Championship is now into its fourth year, having been inaugurated in Vierumaki, Finland in 2008 and then held in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy in 2009 and last year in Chelyabinsk, Russia.

Instead of playing in teams of four, mixed doubles curling is for teams of two players – one male and one female (no alternate/spare player is allowed).
- The game is played on the same sheets of ice as “traditional” curling.
- Teams have only six stones each (instead of eight) - and one of those stones, from each team, is prepositioned on the centreline before each end of play starts.
- Player one delivers the first and last stones and player two plays the second, third and fourth stones. If they choose to, the two players may swap positions from one end to the next.
- Sweeping can be done by both team members.
- Each team receives 46 minutes of playing time and games are fixed at 8 ends – compared to 73 minutes and 10 ends for “traditional” curling.

Altogether 24 nations will participate in the Mixed Doubles event in St Paul: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and hosts USA.

Among the competitors this year are Bridget and Sean Becker of New Zealand, the sister and brother team who took silver in Chelyabinsk last year. György Nagy and Ildiko Szekeres return to represent Hungary after taking silver in 2009. And the Spanish duo, Sergio Vez and Irantzu Garcia, will be hoping to improve on their fourth place finish in Russia last year after they lost the bronze medal game to China.

For this Championship, the 24 Mixed Doubles teams have been divided into three groups. Each group will play a round robin before quarterfinals on Friday 22 and semi-finals and medal games on Saturday 23.

This is the tenth edition of formally-sanctioned WCF World Senior Curling Championships. Altogether 21 senior men’s teams and eleven senior women’s teams will be competing in games that are limited to eight-ends. To be eligible to play in the senior championships players must not be less than 50 years of age by the end of the 30th day of June of the year immediately preceding the year in which the WSCC is to take place.

The nations represented in the men’s event are: Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, USA and Wales. The senior men will play in the same competition format as the Mixed Doubles.

The nations involved in the women’s event are: Canada, Czech Republic, England, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and USA. These eleven teams will be in one group and will play a single round-robin series.

As with the Mixed Doubles – quarterfinals for the seniors will take place on Friday 22 with semi-finals and medal games being staged on Saturday 23.

Last year’s Mixed Doubles and Senior World Championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia, were affected by the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud with a number of teams not being able to make it to compete in the events.

Russia (Yana Nekrasova and Petr Dron) won the 2010 mixed doubles world championship title with New Zealand (Bridget and Sean Becker) taking silver and China (Zhipeng Zhang and Yue Sun) winning bronze.

USA (skip Paul Pustovar) won the senior men’s title, Canada (skip Bruce Delaney) took silver and Australia (skip Hugh Millikin) won bronze.

Canada (skip Colleen Pinkney) won the senior women’s gold medal, Switzerland (skip Renate Nedkoff) took silver and Sweden (skip Ingrid Meldahl) won bronze.

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