World Wheelchair Curling Qualification 2011 Preview

The 2011 World Wheelchair Curling Qualification event gets underway on Saturday at the Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja, Finland.

Nine wheelchair curling teams from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Slovakia and Switzerland are set to compete in the event which will run from 5 to 10 November and will see two teams qualifying for the final places at the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2012 in Chuncheon City, South Korea next February.

It is the second year in a row that the qualification event will be staged at the Kisakallio Sports Institute.

“We are delighted to be returning to Finland for this event,” said World Curling Federation President Kate Caithness, “our Member Association, the Finnish Curling Association, the Finnish Paralympic Committee and the team from Kisakallio proved last year that they have the expertise and superb purpose-built facilities to organise a top class World Wheelchair Curling event.”

Of the nine teams taking part there are five led by skips with Paralympic Winter Games appearances to their names: Denmark (Kenneth Ørbaek) - Turin 2006 and Germany (Jens Jäger), Italy (Andrea Tabanelli, also in Turin), Japan (Yoji Nakajima) and Switzerland (Manfred Bolliger) – Vancouver 2010.

Radek Musilek returns to skip the Czech’s after their 10th place finish on home soil at the World Wheelchair Curling Championships 2011 in Prague which sent them back to the qualification event. For the Latvian’s, skipped by Aleksandrs Dimbovkis, it is only their second year of competing at international level in Wheelchair Curling. Slovakia’s Radoslav Duriš and his team play their third qualification event after finishing 6th last year.

With a chance to go to the Worlds in South Korea, competition is fierce for the top two places. Speaking ahead of the event Finland’s Vesa Hellman said his team had been practising hard and had their sights set on being in the top four at the end of the round-robin.

The event starts on Saturday afternoon, with the nine teams playing in a round-robin through to Wednesday 9 November. The top four teams at the end of the round-robin will meet in the playoff games for the two qualifying places for the World Championship on Thursday the 10th.

The World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2012 will take place at the Uiam Ice Rink, Chuncheon City, South Korea, from 18-25 February. Canada, Scotland, Norway, Russia, China, Korea, USA and Sweden have already qualified for this event based on the final ranking at the 2011 event. The 2012 World Championships will be the second opportunity for nations to gather qualification points for the Wheelchair Curling Competition at the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia in 2014.

The schedule of play and team line-ups for this event are available online at the WCF Events Page: World Wheelchair Curling Qualification 2011

Results and LIVE webcasting will be provided on the Finnish Curling Association website:
www.curling.fi/en/competitions/leagues/7835/standings
www.curling.fi/en/competitions/curling-channel

World Curling Federation Wheelchair Curling Events Facebook: Go hit ‘like’ to keep updated:
www.facebook.com/WorldWheelchairCurlingChampionships