Wheelchair curling teams aim for World Championship qualification in Finland
Friday, 02 November 2012
November 2 - Two places at next year's World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Sochi are the prize on offer this weekend at the qualification tournament in Finland.
The two successful teams will take the two final places at the World Championships, which will be staged in the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi and will also serve as the Paralympic test event for the sport before the Winter Games the following year.
Eleven teams will try to make a run at qualifying when the tournament gets underway tomorrow at the Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja, Finland.
Turkey will make their international wheelchair curling debut at this event, joining 10 other teams including the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Norway, Poland and Switzerland.
Within the 11 teams taking part, there are several athletes with Winter Paralympic Games experience, including Denmark's Kenneth Ørbæk, who competed at the Turin 2006 Games and Germany's Jens Jäger, who competed at Vancouver 2010.
They will be joined by Norwegian two-time Paralympian and former world champion Rune Lorentsen.
He returns to skip Norway in the qualification event following their relegation from the top tier of teams.
Italy also returns to the qualification event following their performance at the World Wheelchair Curling Championships in South Korea earlier this year.
The event begins with a round-robin format, and then the top four teams after that stage will advance to the playoff round on Thursday (November 8), with the top two finishers advancing to the World Championships on February 16-23.
Russia, South Korea, China, Slovakia, the United States, Scotland, Canada and Sweden have already qualified for the World Championships based on their final rankings at the 2012 event.
The 2013 World Championships will be the last opportunity for nations to gather qualification points for Sochi 2014.